CAFOD has joined forces with Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to reach tens of thousands of people affected by Indonesia's devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Chris Bain, CAFOD's Director, said:
"I have been horrified by the devastation of the tsunami in Indonesia. So many lives have been lost and affected by this disaster. There is so much to do. Our local colleagues in Indonesia are doing their utmost to provide the basics - clean drinking water, food and shelter - to enable people to survive over the coming days and weeks. We are already receiving donations from the Catholic community across England and Wales. This money will help provide emergency relief as well as begin the long process towards recovery."
Over 1,400 people have been killed, more than 500 seriously injured and thousands of homes have been destroyed after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck Central Sulawesi Province, Indonesia, on Friday 28 September. Over 50,000 have been made homeless. This is the worst Indonesian disaster since the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and communications across the affected area are down. CAFOD's local aid organisation, Caritas Indonesia, has reported families who have been forced to seek shelter in churchyards and of whole communities who have lost everything.
Yohanes Baskoro, Caritas Indonesia Programme Manager, said:
"It will take a long time to recover from this disaster. There are still so many places that haven't yet been reached. The practical challenges to helping survivors are great. In Manado, churchyards are being used as places for temporary shelters. What we know so far is that there is a great need for clean water, food, shelter. The water supply has been contaminated as there are many dead bodies, and this increases the risk of disease."
A humanitarian assessment team from the diocese of Makassar has been joined by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) aid workers travelling over land to Palu but the challenges are great, said Yenni Suryani, CRS Indonesia country manager. He added:
"Humanitarian groups are struggling to reach people in affected areas. 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 lack of water and fuel will be an additional challenge. The closest reliable fuel points are hours from the affected area, and that will hamper reaching more distant communities and transporting relief goods."
Chris Bain concluded:
"With the support of the British public and the DEC, our sister agencies on the ground will continue to work around the clock to ensure that families in some of the remotest areas are not beyond reach of vital emergency aid."
CAFOD is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and part of Caritas International. This Friday is CAFOD's Family Fast Day: https://cafod.org.uk/News/Emergencies-news
The DEC brings 14 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis: ActionAid UK, Age International, Action against Hunger, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Plan International UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision; all collectively raising money to reach those in need quickly: www.dec.org.uk/
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