Primate appeals for prayer after Indonesian tsunami

THE PRIMATE of the Anglican Church of South East Asia, Archbishop Moon Hing, is calling for prayers for victims of the earthquake and tsunami in the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

Last Friday a 7.5-magnitude quake struck just off the central island of Sulawesi, setting off a tsunami that struck the city of Palu.

The number of people known to have died has risen to more than 1,230.

Dean Timothy Chong of the Anglican Deanery of Indonesia has reported that Palu and the affected areas have descended into lawlessness – there is looting, pilferage and highway robbery.

“Vehicles [are] being stopped and goods taken away. The Indonesian military has taken over the area and trying to control the chaotic situation.

“The response to this tragic event was unlike Aceh and Lombok, as the people still respected law and order. Here in Central Sulawesi, law and order have failed, and the military has to maintain the security of the province,” he said.

“We watched this tragedy with grieving hearts yet unable to respond and engage because of the lawlessness that had emerged. Without the chaos, aid would have been able to be dispatched faster and stability in the region could have been accelerated, but now, with the lawlessness their sufferings are prolonged,” he added.

“We can only pray that the people will come to their senses, return back to law and order, and allow the relief agencies to come to the affected areas to help them.”

Christian Aid is supporting the delivery of food, shelter, clean water, sanitation and other relief supplies in the city of Palu and the district of Donggala in Central Sulawesi, two of the worst-hit areas. Madara Hettiarachchi, Christian Aid’s Head of Humanitarian Programmes for Asia and Middle East, said:

“As the rubble is cleared in the coming days and week, we expect the death toll to rise. Right now, many survivors are being forced to sleep in the open, in fear of further aftershocks.

“Many communities are cut off from the outside world, with power supplies and telecommunications down. Food and water supplies will be running low. Medical services are under severe strain.”

Christian Aid is currently responding to two other crises across Asia: the monsoon floods in Kerala, India, and Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines. The organisation is appealing for funds for these disasters, to support its partners based in each of the countries.

Donate by calling Christian Aid on 020 7523 2493