An earthquake rattles a missionary base in Indonesia.

By February 9, 2004

Indonesia (MNN)–A massive earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale has struck a town in Indonesia’s Papua province, killing at least 23 people, and the toll is expected to climb further.

In Nabire, closest to the epicenter, local roads and buildings were damaged, including a local hospital. Rescue efforts over the weekend were hampered by both the closure of the airport and damaged runways.

Mission Aviation Fellowship’s David Wuncsch says their four missionary families escaped safely. However, they have a base in the area. “We did not have any permanent damage to our buildings, although there were some cracks and so on. It’s basically a really bad cleanup that they have to do.” Damage reports are still coming in, but Wuncsh says their teams will be helping several community churches who lost their buildings. As for their ability to assist flying evangelistic teams, “I don’t have any word, at this point, how bad the runway may have been effected or if we cannot land or take off. It’s a large airport, our airplanes are small so I’m assuming that even if we can use a portion of it, we’ll stay operational.”

Wuncsh says MAF will be involved relief efforts, as an example of the love of Christ.

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