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Indonesian Church Leader calls for Uniting Church Support of Disaster Response

Rev. Kuntadi Sumadikarya (Moderator of the Indonesian Christian Church and GKI Humanitarian) has requested the support of the Uniting Church in Australia as the church seeks to provide much needed medical assistance as a result of the recent Mount Merapi eruption and the earthquake off Mentawai, West Sumatra.

As a result UnitingWorld has launched the Mentawai and Merapi Disaster Appeal.

Indonesia’s Mount Merapi erupted three times on Tuesday 27 October, emitting searing clouds and volcanic ash leading to authorities declaring a red alert for a radius of 10 kilometres and leading to over 70,000 people evacuating the area.

On the island of Mentawai, West Sumatra, more than 431 people are dead and more than 88 people are missing after a 7.7 earthquake struck Monday 25 October at 9:42 pm.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing tsunami waves hit village areas.

The tsunami flooded the local market and damaged food stock, which will impact peoples’ access to food in the coming months.

“On Thursday 28 October 2010, I conducted a briefing at GKI West Java headquarters to local volunteer medical staff heading to Mentawai Islands.

There they are working together with the GKPM (Christian Protestant Church of Mentawai) in Mentawai and Padang areas with a focus on villages which are receiving help from other agencies.

We are preparing the second team to Mentawai,” said Rev. Kuntadi.

After the eruption of Mount Merapi, on Thursday 28 October 2010 GKI Humanitarian in Magelang and Yogyakarta (Central Java) started packing food and distributing packages directly to refugees and disaster victims.

An assessment of the refugee camps in three villages in Megeland revealed that the health services and logistics were insufficient. A medical team of 10 doctors from Faculty of Medicine of the Krida Wacana Christian University (Ukrida) Jakarta joined GKI Humanitarian on Saturday 30 October 2010.

Rev. Kuntadi reports that in Yogyakarta, Gki is distributing food and offering medical help in four areas and volunteers went door to door to people’s houses with the help of locals.

“We are preparing a special plan if Merapi erupts again even more dangerously, as predicted by Meteorology and Geo-physics agency,” said Rev. Kuntadi.

UnitingWorld’s appeal will support the medical teams in transportation, supplies and logistics.

At the Uniting Church in Australia 12th Assembly gathering in 2009, The Rev. Kuntadi, said “when we cry, you cry; our struggle, you take on as your struggle also”.

More information about the appeal and how to stand in solidarity with our church partner in Indonesia at this time please visit UnitingWorld’s website at www.unitingworld.org.au

To make a donation to UnitingWorld click here