The Archbishop of Wales is urging people to do what they can to help survivors of the Indonesia tsunami.
More than 1,300 people have died and 200,000 are in urgent need of clean water, food, medical care and shelter following the 7.4 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck Central Sulawesi Province, Indonesia, a week ago.
An appeal was launched on Wednesday by the Disasters Emergency Committee and Christian Aid is working through its sister agencies in Indonesia to deliver supplies to victims.
The Archbishop, John Davies, who is also chair of Christian Aid Wales, said our lack of experience of extreme weather events in the UK should not prevent us being moved by the terror and desolation caused by “brutal forces of nature”.
He said, “In the UK, weather forecasters sometimes refer to a snowfall, a period of unusually turbulent weather or something similar as a ‘weather event’. We usually take these in our stride, often turning to help our neighbours, especially if they are elderly or frail or have other particular needs. Pretty quickly, often in a few days, we get back to normal.
“For the people of Central Sulawesi Province, Indonesia, who have experienced the brutal forces of nature, getting back to normal will take more than a few days and more than a kindly visit from a neighbour. In one of the worst disasters which Indonesia has suffered since the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, their lives have been devastated, their livelihoods have been destroyed, and countless families have suffered injury and the loss of loved-ones.
“Because of our relatively limited experience of ‘weather events’, we can scarcely understand the terror and resulting sense of utter desolation which events of infinitely greater power cause to the lives of ordinary individuals, families and communities. However, because of sophisticated media coverage, we can at least try to understand. In doing so, I hope that we will find ourselves moved to do what we can to help bring some relief from the suffering which people in Indonesia are experiencing.
“The Disasters Emergency Committee has launched an appeal and, by supporting this appeal, you can make a contribution to the relief effort. Working with its partners, Christian Aid is actively engaged in the task of bringing practical help and relief. I urge you to make your contribution by supporting the appeal that has been launched. Details of how you can do this have appeared in newspapers and online. Please do what you can.”
DEC Cymru Chair, Rachel Cable, said, “DEC member organisations across Wales are working closely with the Welsh Government and businesses to raise awareness of this important appeal and the devastation in Indonesia that requires our urgent support.
“Our charities and partners are on the ground in Sulawesi providing people with water, food and shelter. Every day brings more news of the impact the tsunami and earthquake has had on their lives.
“With your support we can scale up our response, reach more people and save more lives. We may be a small nation but we are known for our generosity. We urgently need your donations.”
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. This work is being coordinated by Christian Aid’s sister agencies YEU, Church World Service and Pelkesi, fellow members of the global ACT Alliance network.
Madara Hettiarachchi, Christian Aid’s Head of Humanitarian Programmes for Asia and Middle East, said, “We are deeply saddened by the devastation triggered by the earthquake and tsunami: it has wrecked lives, torn apart communities and caused untold suffering. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected.
“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.
“Our sister agencies YEU and CWS have been assessing the scale of damage in some of the hardest-hit areas and identifying the most pressing needs of women, children and men in Palu and Donggala. They have told us people urgently need access to safe drinking water, food, shelter, health and hygiene supplies.”
She continued: “In the coming months, there will be a real need in communities for support with housing, income and access to basic amenities – such as sanitation, telecommunications and electricity. Although Christian Aid does not have an office in Indonesia, we are poised to provide as much assistance as we can – through our sister agencies – so that survivors of this catastrophe can rebuild their lives.”
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.
Madara Hettiarachchi said, “In the space of just six weeks, the South Asia and South East Asia region has seen three intense disasters: this catastrophe in Indonesia comes not long after the monsoon floods in Kerala and Typhoon Mangkhut. These natural disasters are causing untold suffering. It’s imperative we do more to help reduce the risk and impact of these disasters before they happen.”
To make a donation to the DEC Indonesia Tsunami Appeal visit www.dec.org.uk, call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque. To donate £5 text HELPU to 70000. Texts cost £5 and the whole £5 goes to the DEC INDONESIA TSUNAMI APPEAL. You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer’s permission. For full terms and conditions and more information go to www.dec.org.uk
Stay up to date with developments in Indonesia, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts with the DEC on twitter: www.twitter.com/decappeal
or on Facebook via www.facebook.com/DisastersEmergencyCommittee
POET PENS PROSE-POEM FOR INDONESIA TSUNAMI APPEAL
On National Poetry Day, Ifor ap Glyn the National Poet of Wales has penned a compelling piece to coincide with the launch of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Cymru Indonesia Tsunami Appeal.
The prose-poem called ‘Palu’ paints a thought-provoking picture of how we in Wales would cope in the aftermath of such destruction and urges the Welsh public to dig deep in their pockets to donate towards the appeal and help those in urgent need.
Imagine the Tawe and Nedd being sucked beyond their lowest ebb
before barreling back in a twenty-foot wave
that smashes through the streets
and wipes out houses.
Imagine the headlines on Wales Today and in the Western Mail:
“thousands dead in Swansea and Port Talbot”.
Mass graves in Baglan and on Fabian Way.
that although so many were swallowed by the tsunami,
many more will die in its aftermath.
Queuing for water in Sandfields.
Waiting in vain for the food truck in Town Hill.
As sewage spews from broken pipes in Briton Ferry.
Imagine all this, then give thanks that it never happened.
Then turn your gratitude into cash.
Open your heart and your wallet to help those who lost everything in Palu.
Dig deep in your pockets.
Do it today.
Do it now.
Tomorrow may be too late.
Thank you for whatever you can give.
Ifor ap Glyn
National Poet of Wales