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MUMBAI, India – Many Catholics are helping the victims of a deadly earthquake in Indonesia, says the local bishop.
At least 310 people have died in the earthquake that hit the Cianjur district on the west of the island of Java.
According to the Associated Press, more than 1,400 rescuers have been searching through the rubble since the magnitude 5.6 quake, which injured more than 2,000 people.
Bishop Paskalis Bruno Syukur of Bogor, the diocese which includes the area of the earthquake, called the situation “terrible.”
“It makes the people shocked. The houses of many people are so damaged; the landslide and many holes on the road that makes the road [unpassable],” he told Crux.
“The Catholic Church has responded to help the people there through Karina [Caritas Indonesia]. Many good people and Catholic people and families help the victims. The spirit of solidarity is there,” the bishop said.
The National Disaster Management Agency said the earthquake damaged at least 56,000 houses and displaced at least 36,000 people. Hundreds of public facilities were destroyed, including 363 schools.
The Mardi Yuana Catholic school, a K-12 facility, was damaged in the disaster.
“The school, which belongs to the foundation of the Diocese of Bogor, has thousands of pupils with at least 65 teachers and staff,” said Agus Supriyanto, a teacher who spoke to AsiaNews, which reported a fundraiser has already been started.
Ucanews.com reported that Caritas Indonesia is coordinating with teams from the Catholic charity in three dioceses – Bogor, Bandung, and Jakarta – along with other Catholic organizations to provide assistance to victims across four districts.
Fredy Rante Taruk, executive director of Caritas Indonesia, said the coordination was under the control of the Caritas Bureau of Bogor.
“The team has gone to the field to collect data and determine the response [required] from the Church network,” he told ucanews.com.
Doni Akur, a Caritas Indonesia worker, told ucanews.com volunteers and members of the Catholic Youth acted as first responders, and that Caritas Indonesia sent a team to a coordination meeting with the government about rescue efforts.
“In addition, the diocese of Bogor has also sent a team of doctors who will coordinate with the government to provide emergency services. Medical services, health and psychological assistance are currently needed,” he told the news agency.
More than 2.5 million people live in Cianjur district, including about 175,000 in its main town, which has the same name.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has pledged to rebuild infrastructure and provide assistance of up to 50 million rupiah ($3,180) to each resident whose house was damaged.
Indonesia is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin known as the “Ring of Fire.”
This article included material from the Associated Press.