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Indonesia: Catholic Community Committed to Aiding Tsunami Victims

Massive Humanitarian Effort Underway Following December Disaster

Despite the difficulties, an immense humanitarian effort by the Catholic community in Indonesia is underway to assist the survivors of the December 22nd tsunami. The anomalous wave, sparked by underwater landslides from an erupting volcano, hit the coasts of the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra, in the Sunda Strait, killing at least 437 people, leaving about 14 thousand injured and over 33,000 displaced in the coastal villages.

As reported to Fides News Agency, in the Pandenglang district, in the province of Banten, the Sukabumi Franciscan Sisters (SFS) who ran the Catholic hospital in Misi Lebak organized a humanitarian mission in the affected area.
First aid activities are underway in the three crisis centers established by the Misi Lebak Hospital in collaboration with the Catholic Association of Health Services “Perdhaki”, while some Catholic humanitarian groups are active on the spot, such as the humanitarian agency of the Archdiocese of Jakarta, volunteers from the Church of Mary Immaculate in Rangkasbitung and Christ King Serang parish, both in the province of Banten.

Mgr. Paskalis Bruno Syukur OFM, Bishop of Bogor, in which the Pandeglang district is located, the most affected, strongly supported this humanitarian initiative, suggested by the Misi Lebak Hospital and by its partners based in Jakarta, which guarantee the logistics support.

“We are taking care of three types of services for the population in the district of Pandenglang: medical assistance for the wounded, canteen service and trauma recovery,” said Sister Atanasia SFS, Deputy Director of the Misi Lebak Hospital. “Our main concern is to reach areas where humanitarian aid is still lacking.”

“I join Pope Francis in launching an urgent appeal that these brothers and sisters may not lack our solidarity and the support of the International Community,” wrote Burmese Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, the new president of the Federation of Bishops’ Conferences of Asia (FABC). “I invite everyone to pray for the victims and for their loved ones and express spiritual closeness to those who are affected by the tragedy by imploring God’s consolation in their suffering to collectively look for ways we could tangibly alleviate the sufferings of our Indonesian brothers and sisters.”

The tsunami that hit Pandenglang and some areas in South Sumatra has destroyed lives, fishing boats, tourist spots in the seaside resorts of Anyer and Carita. The death toll, released at the beginning of 2019, estimates 437 deaths, 14,059 injured, 16 missing and 33,721 displaced. According to the National Mitigation and Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), the death toll “is still on the rise”.

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