Caritas Australia responds to Indonesia Earthquake

Caritas Australia is responding to the devastating earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, by tapping into the local Catholic network.

Caritas Australia is part of the international Caritas network, a confederation of 162 Catholic aid agencies, who will be jointly responding to the disaster that claimed over 3,000 lives in five regions of Daerah Istimewa, Yogyakarta province in Central Java.

"The Caritas Internationalis network already have staff members on the ground in Yogyakarta, enabling us to respond quickly to the disaster and assist the earthquake victims," said Jack de Groot, Chief Executive Officer.

He said the initial response to the earthquake by the Caritas network has involved the use of the local Catholic network to provide temporary refuges, food and non-food items and first aid assistance for survivors.

"Seven local Catholic hospitals have also opened their doors to assist the victims. Doctors and nurses from these hospitals have formed outreach teams, visiting the destroyed villages, providing medical assistance to the injured and traumatised," he said.

Caritas agencies already had pre-positioned resources in Central Java in the event of displacement of the people living in the surrounding regions of the erupting Mt Merapi volcano.

Shelter materials such as tents are expected to be provided to those survivors who are staying outside, away from solid buildings, as they fear collapses from weakened building structures.

Meanwhile, CAFOD - Caritas in the UK - reports that it has provided an emergency grant to its partner in Indonesia, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), to assist those hit by the earthquake.

According to a CAFOD statement, JRS is already working in the affected areas, providing tents, food and blankets to those made homeless by the earthquake.

JRS has been working in the area for several years and has an office in Yogyakarta.

"Our partner JRS is responding to immediate need by providing food and blankets as well as assessing the situation to ensure that aid is targeted to those most in need," Fiona Callister from CAFOD said.

Many of those in the JRS emergency teams have also been affected by the quake, with staff houses damaged.

According to CAFOD, JRS was able to respond immediately because it had stockpiled supplies in the event that Mount Merapi erupted, which it is now distributing.

JRS is currently carrying out an assessment of need and will be drawing up a plan of action in the next couple of days.

Caritas Australia responds to Indonesia Earthquake (Caritas Australia 28/5/06)
Partners help those affected by Java earthquake (CAFOD 27/5/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Caritas Australia
Jesuit Refugee Service

Tragedy of Java quake survivors (AsiaNews.it 27/5/06)
Fund raising and outdoor masses for Java Catholics (AsiaNews.it 28/5/06)
Over 2700 Die In Earthquake In Indonesia (Catholic Bishops Conference of India 27/5/06)
Caritas Providing Assistance to Earthquake Victims (Caritas Aoteroa/NZ 28/5/06)
Australia donates $3m as UN, Red Cross rush to help (The Age 29/5/06)
Australia Java aid hits $3m (The Australian 28/5/06)
Church responds to Indonesian quake that killed 3,000 (Indian Cathoilc 28/5/06)

29 May 2006