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Caritas Assisting Earthquake-struck Indonesia

The Papal Foundation Has Rescue Network Active in Country

The people of Indonesians suffer from two earthquakes, July 29 and Aug. 5, in the Lombok Island, claiming some 130 lives, leaving hundreds wounded and some 20,000 homeless. Rescuers are still digging to save victims in the rubble. The most urgent needs, rescuers ask for are water, food,  medicines, blankets and ready-made meals, reported L’Osservatore Romano.

Indonesia is a country of high earthquake intensity because it’s found on the so-called ring of fire, the fault line that runs all around the Pacific Ocean, of which more than half of the active volcanoes in the world form part, above sea level.

In a telegram, the Holy Father had expressed his heartfelt condolences and prayers for the victims, the injured and the lost, and their loved ones, while encouraging those involved to continue rescue efforts.

According to the Vatican newspaper, Yohanes Baskoro, responsible for Indonesian Caritas’ projects, said, “Our team has been in the field since August 2, immediately after the previous earthquake of a week ago that affected the same area.”

For the first quake they are already distributing — in two villages of the region in the north of the Island –, hygiene kits to 600 people, while the type of intervention is being assessed in the aftermath of the two earthquakes; it won’t be exhausted in the emergency phases, but will have to be extended to reconstruction and to put development projects in the field.

Father Antonius Banu Kurnianto, Director of Caritas-Indonesia, says: “We are also ready to send reinforcements from the neighboring dioceses to complement the work of assessment of damages, given that the situation is revealing itself ever more difficult and delicate. In any case, the Caritas volunteer network of the area is alerted. We are giving support to our colleagues in the field and some of us will leave from Jakarta in the next hours.” 

“Our team is ready to give inclusive aid to all. We remember this always when we intervene in cases of emergency: Catholics in Indonesia are a minority but in fact in these cases we are called to show our identity, which is solidarity,” added Father Kurnianto.

After the 2004 tsunami that struck Indonesia ruinously, Italian Caritas has already sent workers and aid to the area. In fact, for more than 15 years it has collaborated with Indonesian Caritas to address numerous natural emergencies (floods, earthquakes, fires), which affect the Asian country every year, but also to support the many development projects intended to reinforce the resilience of the local communities, harshly tried by so many difficulties.

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': or

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