2016-12-12 16:21:00

Indonesian Church helping Aceh earthquake survivors

Catholic parishes, organizations and individuals in Indonesia are raising funds and collecting essential items to distribute among thousands of earthquake survivors in Indonesia's Aceh province.  A 6.5 magnitude earthquake devastated the Muslim-majority province on Dec. 7. Over 100 people were killed, 750 were injured and more than 3000 left homeless.

In a statement on Dec. 12, Caritas Indonesia said that people needed emergency tents, mattresses, blankets, kitchen utensils, clean water, emergency toilets and food for adults and infants, according to their assessment.  Divine Word Father Paul Rahmat, executive director of VIVAT International Indonesia, a human rights advocacy group, said that many Catholic organizations, parishes and individuals in Jakarta and other parts of Indonesia have started collections.  "We have received blankets and we will send them to Medan next week," he said.  However, Father Rahmat also said that distributing aid to Aceh must be done with prudence because some residents resist help from non-Muslims. 

In Jakarta, VIVAT has also been cooperating with a Catholic lay group and Catholic young people to collect materials. They are storing them at St. Joseph Church in Matraman, East Jakarta ready to be sent to Medan.  Similar initiatives are also being held in Ende Archdiocese

On Dec. 8, Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims and families of the disaster.  (Source: UCAN) 

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