Emotions running high in Indonesia

By September 17, 2007

Indonesia (MNN) — World Vision Indonesia relief teams are now on the ground assessing the impact of a series of massive quakes that rocked Sumatra's west coast and resulted in tsunami warnings being issued across the Indian Ocean.

The largest quake measuring 8.4 on the USG scale hit last Wednesday and was followed by others measuring up to 7.8, says the World Vision team. All occurred off the Bengkulu coast on the western side of Sumatra.

However, World Vision's Indonesia Humanitarian and Emergencies Assessment manager, Jimmy Nadapdap, speaking from Indonesia, says, "We're thankful that the damage being reported is not as bad as we thought it was. This is coming from the media and also from our colleagues that are now present on the ground, both in Bengkulu and Padang."

Several towns along the western coast of Bengkulu and West Sumatra province, the closest to the epicenters, reported houses collapsed or scores of buildings suffering from cracks. Electricity in many parts of Sumatra was down since the quake, as power stations had broken down.

However, the real issue is more emotional. Nadapdap says people are scared to death. "Hundreds of earthquakes and tremors have happened in the area after the strongest one that happened. People are scared. People are tired. It's very difficult for them. They go [outside when they feel the tremors]. They go to the high ground because they're afraid of the tsunami. So, things like that are still happening."

That's giving World Vision team members a chance to share from their heart about the peace they have despite the situation.

However, the good news is World Vision won't be required to implement an emergency response, but since strong quakes continue happening in the area, World Vision will closely follow further developments.

World Vision Indonesia has no project close to the impacted areas. The nearest projects are in Jakarta (some 600 kilometers east of the epicenter) and in Nias island and Aceh province (over 600 kilometers away northwest of the quakes).

Pray for the team and for the people. Pray that the team will be able comfort those who are frightened by the large number of aftershocks and quakes. Pray, too, that their hearts will be changed by what they hear.

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