Indian Catholic News

Catholics rush aid to Indonesian flood victims

At least 22,000 people displaced after prolonged period of heavy rain inundates villages in Southeast Sulawesi province.

Military personnel evacuate a victim of flash floods in Southeast Sulawesi province, Indonesia. (Photo courtesy of the National Disaster Management Agency)

Catholics in Indonesia’s Southeast Sulawesi province have mobilized aid to help thousands of people forced to flee their homes because of severe flooding in several districts.

The floods — thought to be the worst in decades — have inundated more than 160 villages throughout June, displacing more than 22,500 people.

Many are living in tents in camps set up by disaster agencies, while some are staying with family members in areas not affected by the flooding.

Catholic groups have generally concentrated on helping those staying with family members.

On June 18, Ruksamin, the Konawe district chief, had yet to give the all-clear for them to return to their homes, saying weather conditions were still uncertain.

There have been no reports of any deaths or injuries so far.

Floods also damaged 5,968 houses and 95 school buildings, with North Konawe district reportedly the worst hit.

According to the National Disaster Management Agency, aid distribution is being flown in via helicopters or driven in large trucks.

Liven Yufinalis Decrolly Anasara, who heads the Southeast Sulawesi chapter of the Catholic Youth group, said the organization has been working to gather aid from ordinary donors.

"We are coordinating our work with other parishes and Catholic groups," he told

He said an emergency post was set up in Kendari, the provincial capital, to coordinate relief. Relief supplies have included rice, instant noodles, mineral water and clothing.

“Access to some locations is still difficult. In some places, assistance is distributed using rafts,” he said, adding that more aid is needed including medicines as some victims were falling ill with diseases.

Teodorus Lahaji, from the Catholic Students Association, said group members were being dispatched with aid to remote locations that had not received any yet from state agencies.

Source: UCAN

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