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News : Indonesia

Hope – churches respond to Asia disasters

Hope – churches respond to Asia disasters – 16 Oct 2009

The images of stranded families and flood-stricken streets in the Philippines shown on BBC were terrible, but as I watched this scene I was filled with great hope. Local volunteers from churches were handing out emergency food and water and a tired looking pastor smiled as he said ‘we are showing compassion like Jesus did.’ Jesus says to us to have peace, as the Father sent Him, he also sends us (John 20:21). This is the church in action.

Muh Nasir grabbed his daughter and ran as the first earthquake tremors hit his house in Indonesia.

As the first tremors shuddered the building, the father-of-five quickly gathered up his four-year-old daughter Ifah and took her into the garden. Panic-stricken, he realised another daughter, eight year-old Mia, was missing and screamed for her to get out of the house.

Flattened image

Just as she emerged into the safety of the outdoors, the property collapsed: ‘Everything happened so fast and suddenly,’ recalls Muh Nasir. Thankfully his wife and other children, who were elsewhere in the village of Cubadak Palak, were also safe. But ten others in the area didn’t survive as some 970 homes were flattened. While Muh Nasir and his family escaped with their lives, the quality of those lives has been shattered. I have to earn money over the next 20 years to build my house from the beginning and it will be hard for me especially in this economic crisis.’

Food Aid

Tearfund partner Kotib is helping keep the family going, providing material help and encouragement. ‘Thanks to Kotib, we’ve got 10 kilos of rice, 40 packs of noodles and 24 litres of mineral water, so at least we can still eat and drink for the next few days,’ says Muh Nasir. But the family still needs new clothes, blankets and mattresses and they are not alone. Across West Sumatra, more than 1,000 died and about 100,000 homes were destroyed, with another 100,000 damaged. Tearfund is supporting Kotib as it provides emergency aid and runs food kitchens and first aid centres in villages outside Padang.

You can help support our continuing relief efforts by giving to our Emergency Fund .

Asia Disaster Response

Asia Disaster Response – 7 Oct 2009

Millions of people across South East Asia are struggling to cope after a series of natural disasters struck the region. The Indonesian island of Sumatra has been hit by a major earthquake killing at least 1,100 people. The Philippines is reeling after a typhoon caused massive flooding that has made more than a million people homeless and claimed hundreds of lives. Tearfund is working with partners and local churches to respond to the disasters.

It has been a week of horrific disasters in South East Asia and our resources are being stretched to the limit. We are calling Christians and churches to prayer for all the people facing loss and trauma following these calamitous events.

A few days ago in the South Pacific, Samoa and Tonga were flattened by a tsunami triggered from an earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale, which has left some 130 people dead. The following day, another earthquake hit the Indonesian city of Padang on Sumatra’s west coast. More than a thousand people have been killed and, with rescuers searching the rubble for thousands still missing, the death toll is likely to be far greater. Aftershocks and the fear of tsunamis is compounding the trauma as the region vividly recalls the disaster of December 2004. See BBC video footage here

A week before Typhoon Ketsana ripped though Luzon, the northern island of The Philippines, leaving – in Metro Manila alone – well over a million people in need of rescue, relief or support. News and film reports showed people wading waist deep through even the main highways that connect the sprawling cities. Other images showed furniture suspended in overhead cables. The poorest people in the slum areas have been acutely hit, with their fragile homes and their possessions washed away in the flood water. Mudslides in rural provinces have brought further loss of life and logistic chaos. A second storm, being forecast as a ‘super typhoon’ is expected to hit the Philippines this weekend.

‘The needs are enormous and after the initial loss there comes the sense of devastation and shock. People – many of whom are already desperately poor – are left with nothing,’ says Reuben Coulter, Tearfund Ireland Chief Executive. ‘Homes and livelihoods are destroyed; loved ones are lost or missing – the disorientation and trauma is unimaginable. The relief effort is being built up daily. Our partner relief teams in Sumatra and in Metro Manila are assessing the need and responding, but we can also surround the crises and the families affected in prayer.’

Immediate needs to that Tearfund partner’s are supplying are:
• access to clean water
• food aid and basic items
• shelter provision
• medical supplies and counselling support for the grieving and distressed

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