Indonesia (MNN) — Last Friday, in the Indonesian archipelago, the central island of Sulawesi was hit by a 7.5-magnitude earthquake, followed by a nearly 20-foot high tsunami. Mudslides also occurred as a result.
FMI’s Bruce Allen says infrastructure has been destroyed by the double disasters. Power lines are down, making communication on the island difficult or impossible.
“Palu [was] the hard-hit city where the tsunami came into their bay and just decimated the area. The death toll over the weekend has exceeded 830 people and will likely rise. The vice president, Jusuf Kalla, said the death toll could reach into the thousands,” Allen explains.
Indonesia is in the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area where shifting ground often causes earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic activity, and more. Considering the country’s location in an area susceptible to natural disasters, it is hard to believe Indonesia was not better prepared for Friday’s catastrophe. Indonesia has a tsunami warning system, but the tsunami warning system failed to provide sufficient notice.
“The emphasis is going to be on rescue and release. Over the weekend on Sunday, there was a mass burial for health reasons. They said we just have to put all the bodies in one grave. But there are still reports of scores of people who may be trapped under the rubble,” Allen says.
Rescue operations have been delayed by damaged runways, blocked roads, and a lack of heavy machinery to remove debris. Getting aid to people is important, but this can only happen if transportation avenues are cleared.
Indonesia, Christians, and Aid
Allen says because of the island’s shape, the southern part of Sulawesi was not as affected by the double disasters. The people in this area did feel the impact of the earthquake, but there were little to no effects from the tsunami. Thankfully, all FMI partners and ministry sites are fine.
“They say, ‘We grieve for our nation right now and we’re eager to help.’ They’re coordinating with Christians who are in Sulawesi in order to help with relief efforts,” Allen says.
Many Christians in Indonesia have experience with disaster relief efforts. While part of the problem is lack of access to the impacted areas, lack of access to resources is another issue. People impacted by the earthquake and tsunami don’t have clean water, food, medicine, or electricity.
By donating to FMI’s “Tangible Resources” account, you will help provide Indonesian partners with aid to distribute.
“If there were folks who wanted to donate to FMI’s ‘Tangible Resources’ account, we can make sure that those funds get directly to Christian ministries that are serving in Palu and the surrounding area,” Allen says.
“Even in the midst of chaos, upheaval, persecution, or any hardship, Christians are typically the very first to respond and they want to respond.”
Opportunity for Christ’s Love
Indonesia is among the three largest Muslim-dominant countries in the world. Radical Islam has been on the rise in Sulawesi.
Despite the disaster, heartache, and trauma, Indonesian Christians have the opportunity to reflect Christ’s love and compassion to people who might prefer to persecute them.
Help your Indonesian brothers and sisters be the tangible hands and feet of Christ so that relationships may be built for Christ to be shared.
And finally, do not neglect the power of prayer. Pray for Indonesian leaders’ wisdom in the recovery process as they prioritize needs. Ask God to sustain the Christians on Sulawesi and pray this would be an opportunity for the Church to shine as a light of Christ. Pray for practical needs to be met, including for lines of communication to be opened.
Header photo courtesy of FMI