Catholic charities worldwide join Indonesia tsunami relief efforts


Manado, Oct 3, 2018 — Caritas Italy will donate more than $115,000 to help the victims of the tsunami that struck Indonesia last week.

A 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck 6 miles beneath Sulawesi just after 6 pm Sept. 28. It set off a tsunami, which caused 20 foot-high waves which devastated coastal cities, including, prominently, Palu. The quake also caused landslides and power outages.

More than 1,400 people have died as a result of the disaster, and tens of thousands are displaced from their homes.

Rescuers expect the death toll will rise, as access to some areas is currently blocked by damaged roads and communication lines.

Caritas Ambrosiana, the charity arm of the Archdiocese of Milan, has allocated $34,000 for disaster relief on Sulawesi.

Catholic Relief Services and the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund have provided relief funds and teams to address the emergency situation.

As heavy damages have affected access points and infrastructures, CRS expressed it has had difficulty in reaching devastated areas.

“Humanitarian groups are struggling to get people into affected areas,” Yenni Suryani, CRS’ Indonesia country manager, said Sept. 30. “With the airport damaged, getting access to Palu and Donggala is a huge problem. Responders and local aid groups are having to drive overland 10-12 hours.”

“That means a bottleneck for relief supplies in coming days. Landslides are hindering road travel in some places. There’s very limited electricity in Palu but power is out almost everywhere. Some mobile phone towers have been repaired allowing limited communication, but it’s unreliable.”

The CRS teams are joining local partners in the area, addressing needs such as tarps, blankets, sanitation kits, and sleeping mats. Suryani said a lack of water and fuel are also a concern which needs to be addressed.

Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund have partnered with Caritas Indonesia and contributed over $25,000 to relief efforts. SCIAF Director Alistair Dutton expressed apprehension over the situation and said his prayers would be with the Indonesian victims.

(Catholic News Agency)

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