10/01/2009, 00.00
INDONESIA

As situation gets more horrifying, presidential plane evacuates Sumatra quake victims

by Mathias Hariyadi
Pariaman, a district near Padang home and to 80,000 people, is destroyed. Caritas mobilises and sends in volunteer teams to bring medicine, water, blankets and cooking equipment.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono travelled to Padang today, where he will spend the night. In the devastated “ghost town”, many survivors are still looking for shelter and security. In an unexpected move, the president lent the presidential plane to fly refugees to the capital. In the meantime, the local chapter of Caritas (Karina Indonesia) is organising to address the disaster.

Fr Augustine Mujihartono, a local Karina official, told AsiaNews that the devastation is widespread and that at least 50 per cent of buildings in the provincial capital “have been seriously damaged.”

“The situation of quake victims in Padang is very critical, but Pariaman District—some of 50 kilometres north of Padang—is getting much worse and horrifying,” he said. According to the clergyman, the whole city is in ruins.

Indonesian authorities have estimated that thousands of people, dead or wounded, are still under the rubble in Pariaman, a district that is home to 80,000 people.

Karina Director Fr Sigid Pramuji, who is also the secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia, said that volunteer teams are on their way to Padang and Pariaman with basic items like blankets, cooking equipment, medical supplies and clean water.

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