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Friday, December 9, 2016
CAFOD pledges further funds for Java earthquake relief
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¬†Nearly three weeks since a powerful earthquake shook the Indonesian island of Java, CAFOD, has pledged more funding to help provide much needed food and shelter for thousands of survivors. The earthquake, which measured 6.2 on the Richter scale, rocked the ancient Javanese city of Yogyakarta and surrounding villages, killing more than 5,700 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless. This week, the agency pledged an additional £40,000 to their partner Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS), bringing their total funding for the relief effort to £65,000. CAFOD's Programme Officer for Indonesia, Sarah Belson, was in Indonesia when the earthquake struck. She immediately made her way to Yogyakarta where she joined JRS. "I couldn't have imagined the scale of the devastation. Everywhere I looked there were collapsed buildings, houses with their roofs caved in, piles and piles of rubble and communities gathered together under large tarpaulin tents. In some areas, entire villages had been razed to the ground." JRS, responded to the earthquake immediately, distributing much needed aid to affected communities. So far they have delivered food such as rice, noodles, biscuits and powdered milk, as well as tents, tarpaulin sheets, blankets, sleeping mats and soap to nearly 30,000 people. "JRS is well known in the local area and some of their own staff were affected by the earthquake," said Sarah. "They are working in tune with the local community, who themselves are determined to support each other." JRS is now focusing its efforts on 16 villages around Yogyakarta where, alongside their emergency relief work and continued distribution of food and essentials, they are also providing tools to help clear the debris and developing play activities to help local children come to terms with the traumatic event. In the next few weeks and months, CAFOD's partner will provide construction materials to help local people rebuild their homes as well as give advice on building earthquake proof houses. CAFOD's funding to JRS includes £25,000 which they'd already given to provide food and supplies to those who have been evacuated from their homes because of the increasing danger posed by the nearby volcano, Mount Merapi. Situated just 15 miles north of Yogyakarta, Mount Merapi has been bubbling for weeks, putting the lives of those who live on the volcano's slopes in danger. "Even while JRS was responding to the earthquake in Yogyakarta, they never lost sight of the situation at Mount Merapi," explained Sarah. "They employed extra staff and ordered in more supplies so they could carry out a joint response. JRS now has three teams in place - two in the earthquake affected area and one near Mount Merapi, where they will assist over 2,000 people."
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