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Indonesians panic as earthquake strikes, Christians demonstrate calm

By March 30, 2005

Indonesia (MNN) — For the second time in a little more than three months Indonesia faced a huge earthquake. This time it was an 8.7 magnitude quake. Damage assessment is still coming in from Indonesia.

Food for the Hungry’s Pete Howard is on the ground in Sumatra. Howard called Mission Network News on his satellite phone and told us ‘panicked’ was the best way to describe the situation. “The streets just started to fill up with people running, crying, screaming, and people coming out in their night clothes and running as fast as they could away from the coast. And, it was literally a scene of mass chaos, a mass exodus of people. Unfortunately some people were hurt. Some people were run over.”

FHI is working with the other aid agencies to assess damage and casualties. Howard says as they do this their hearts are broken as they see so many with no hope. “My hope the people here will know the peace and the security and knowledge of knowing God and knowing the peace that can come through Christ.”

Howard is hoping the calm they showed when the earthquake hit was a testimony to those watching. “We purposely didn’t run. We stayed put. And, actually the people in our neighborhood stayed with us. If we would have run, they would have run as well. We are careful and we’re respectful of the customs here about what we do say, but we do have individual relationships building with the people here and there is an openness to learn more about who we are and why we are the way we are.

Nias Island was the hardest hit in the region. Reports indicate the death toll could top 2,000.

Prayer is the urgent need right now, but so is financial help. “Food for the Hungry is committed to being here for the long haul and helping rebuild lives. We’re doing that through small business rehabilitation, agriculture rehabilitation, education. This is an incredible opportunity for people to have an impact in Sumatra where the people are in such need of hope.”

To help Food for the Hungry, call 1-800-2HUNGERS or send your financial support to Food for the Hungry, 1224 E. Washington St. Phoenix, AZ 85034

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