Christian Relief Efforts at Full-Scale One Week After Indonesia Quake

One week has passed since Indonesia’s largest post-tsunami disaster, during which thousands of survivors received aid from Christian organizations.

Full-scale Christian relief operations are underway on Indonesia’s Java Island including relief programs by members of the global alliance Action by Churches Together (ACT).

ACT member Yayasan Tanggul Bencana Indonesia (YTBI) is operating from two crisis centers in Prambanan sub-district in Klaten. The local group has distributed food and non-food items, including tents, mattresses, kitchen utensils and women’s hygiene items, to a total of 847 households (more than 2,800 people) on Wednesday. YTBI was scheduled to assist an additional 500 households on Thursday.

Public kitchen are also being used to distribute some of the food and YTBI has recruited 40 volunteers from the Javanese Christian Churches (GKJ) and ten volunteers from the Islamic University of Indonesia. Some survivors are also assisting in the distributions.

Church World Service (CWS), also an ACT member, has distributed 9,600 bottles of mineral water, 117 packages of biscuits, 1,125 hygiene kits, 270 blankets and 40 tents in Jetis and Imogiri sub-districts of Bantul districts.

YAKKUM Emergency Unit (YEU), an Indonesian ACT member, operates under the YAKKUM foundation (Yayasan Kristen untuk Kesehatan Umum-Christian Foundation for Public Health) and responds to emergency needs through hospitals in the area that are also under the YAKKUM umbrella.

Reports from World Vision say that it has out 1,917 tarpaulins helping more than 9,585 people as part of an initial US $500,000 package of aid.

"We would normally use tents but tarpaulins are the most useful thing here," said World Vision program officer Ruth Panggabean in a report on Saturday. "There is almost no place to put up tents in their villages and tarpaulins are more flexible. It will also allow families to cover the things that they manage to retrieve from their homes."

The Christian relief and development group is rushing to hand out tarpaulins for fear thousands will be left in the rain without shelter as monsoon season approaches.

Individual medical treatment and gasoline stoves are offered to survivors in Klaten and Maguwo. The Salvation Army’s medical teams have provided 235 people with individual medical treatment and in Kaliyan village, a sub-district of Gantiwarno, Klaten, 67 families were given gasoline stoves. In Maguwo, 28 families received gasoline stoves and sacks of rice. Moreover, counseling services and a play program for children is also provided.

In the next weeks, Christian groups hope to provide equipment and supplies to the local health services and distribute more shelter and food.