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Indonesia: priest among first to reach tsunami survivors

Mentawai Island before the tsunami

Mentawai Island before the tsunami

Churches and volunteers have rushed to help survivors of the tsunami that tore through villages in Mentawai Island, West Sumatra.

“We came to the villages with whatever we had, especially medicine because there was no hospital,” said Father Fransiskus Xaverius Wio Hurint Pei from the Assumption of Mary Church in Sikakap. He was accompanied by the Charity of Jesus and Mary, Mother of Good Help nuns.

The priest told ucanews.com he had helped bury the dead bodies. “It was very sad….bodies were scattered. Survivors are having problems taking care of themselves.”

Father Agustinus Mujihartono, head of the Padang diocesan Commission for Socio-Economic Development, said Caritas has sent four volunteers – two to the Assumption of Mary Parish and two to the St Joseph Parish – to help record the survivors and distribute relief supplies.

Reverend Imerius Sakerebau, from the Protestant Church in Mentawai said:  “All houses, two churches and a school were destroyed.”

The report said 311 people have been killed and 460 missing. While 25,426 houses were destroyed, 4,500 people have been packed in makeshift shelters.

The 7.2 magnitude quake that triggered a four metre high tsunami swept away at least ten villages in Pagai Selatan and Pagai Utara districts, Mentawai Island.

Source: UCAN