Indonesia (MNN) — The ash cloud
from frequent eruptions of Indonesia's Mount Merapi forced President Obama
to cut his Asia trip short.
"Merapi," which means "mountain of
fire," has been spewing hot ash clouds for two weeks. The death toll since the
volcano began erupting on October 26 has passed 150. Hundreds of thousands of
people fled before the clouds and packed into evacuation centers.
Not 20 miles from the volcano
sits the Wesleyan Bible College campus where World Hope International has a base of operations. Keith Norris, Director of Rural Development with WHI,
spoke yesterday with Indonesia's National Superintendent of
the Wesleyan Church, Reverend Santoso. Norris says, "They
have 800 displaced people on their Bible school campus. Every available space
in the auditorium, classrooms, offices, are lined up with people and mats."
More people are arriving for
shelter but have to be turned away because there are no more tents, tarps,
mats, or blankets to keep them out of the rain.
The ash is causing physical problems, says Norris. "There is the
medical tent on the campus, and some doctors volunteering. They are seeing some
respiratory problems, but the rains bring kind of a blessing in that it clears out the air."
One big tarp has been strung to
set up a kitchen. Fresh water is being delivered daily, but ood is
in short supply. There are other needs, as well, when housing more than 800 refugees. "We're giving dust
masks because the dust is still coming as the volcano continues to erupt," says Norris. "We're
helping with food, with toilet facilities, tents and blankets."
The combination of rain and
falling ash, while clearing the air, creates the threat of mudslides that
follow the waterways. Already, says Norris, "People are experiencing
significant depression, psychological problems. With the uncertainty of not
knowing how long this will continue, it's a stressful time for them."
Despite the upheaval, the World Hope team is
meeting the needs as best they can in makeshift circumstances, and doing so in the name of
Christ. "They hope to have the resources to continue to have relationship with
the people once this crisis is over," says Norris. "There will be follow-up. It's a
great opportunity to make relationships with new people and, hopefully, that
will be used to the glory of God."
Please consider helping World Hope
International provide the food, drinking water, tarps, blankets and hygiene
kits that are urgently needed to help the 800 people in their care during the
midst of this disaster.