Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), appealed December 28, 2018, to bishops and people around the world to come to the aid of Indonesian Tsunami Victims.
The tsunami was apparently caused by a volcano that erupted is in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra islands, linking the Indian Ocean and the Java Sea. It erupted a few minutes before the tsunami.
“At the dawn of New Year 2019, we are horrified by the pre-Christmas tsunami tragedy that struck Indonesia,” Cardinal Bo said. He cited media reports that “At least 430 people were killed on Saturday 22 December 2018 when the tsunami sparked by underwater landslides from an erupting volcano — swept through the Sunda Strait, leaving about 1,500 injured and almost 22,000 displaced in villages on the Java and Sumatra coasts.
“This huge tragedy makes me recall the pain and suffering when Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar 10 years ago, some 140,000 lives were lost and 800,000 were displaced. On the eve of the new year, my thoughts go out to the populations of Indonesia, affected by recent violent natural disasters, which have caused serious losses in human lives, numerous people missing and homeless, and extensive material damage. We mourn the numerous deaths and untold suffering the tsunami has left behind at the dawn of the new year 2019.”
Pope Francis on December 23, 2018, offered prayers for the victims of the massive natural disasters. The Holy Father’s appeal came after praying the noonday Angelus with a crowd of the faithful estimated at 20,000 gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
“My thought goes at this moment to the populations of Indonesia, affected by violent natural calamities, which caused gave losses in human lives, numerous displaced and homeless and enormous material damages,” Pope Francis said. “I invite all to join me in prayer for the victims and their dear ones. I am spiritually close to the displaced and all the people tried, imploring from God relief in their suffering. I make an appeal so that these brothers and sisters are not lacking our solidarity and the support of the International Community.”
The volcano that erupted is in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra islands, linking the Indian Ocean and the Java Sea. It erupted a few minutes before the tsunami.
Cardinal Bo asked for three actions to help those suffering:
- “Praying for the victims and for their loved ones and express our spiritual closeness to those who are affected by the tragedy by imploring God’s consolation in their suffering.
- “In my new year message, I join Pope Francis to make an urgent appeal that these unfortunate brothers and sisters may not lack our solidarity and the support of the International Community.
- “Let us collectively look for ways we could tangibly alleviate the sufferings of our Indonesian brothers and sisters.”
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on December 23, 2018, expressed support and prayer for those affected by the tsunami.
“Not only do our prayers go out to all who have been affected by this most recent natural disaster, which came without warning, but also our pledge of support and aid,” Cardinal DiNardo said. “Together with our Holy Father Pope Francis, I appeal for the ‘solidarity and the support of the International Community’ for our brothers and sisters. I know that Catholic Relief Services, Caritas Indonesia, and other local partners have teams on the ground responding and they will be providing relief and assistance.”