05/27/2006, 00.00
INDONESIA
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Tragedy of Java quake survivors

by Benteng Reges

Masses for victims are being held in parishes across central Java; many people from Jakarta are trying to reach relatives in quake-hit zones, desperately seeking rail or bus tickets. Survivors will spend the night out of doors, without electricity.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Catholics in Indonesia's quake-hit zone are gathering in parishes struck by the disaster to pray for their deceased loved ones and to organize themselves to ferry aid. Meanwhile, in several parts of the capital, many people are searching for trains and buses to go to their native villages south of Yogyakarta.

The area around the ancient imperial city on the island of Java was struck this morning by a tremor measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale, which destroyed buildings, roads and killed more than 2,700 people.

In the parish of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ, in Wedi, Klaten regency, thousands of believers gathered to attend evening mass, to pray for their dead. This parish is known across the country as "the brightest and infinite" source of seminarians and religious of different orders. Wedi has "offered" its best "children" as bishops, provincials and leaders of religious communities.

Among victims of this morning's quake were the parents of Paulus Superno, rector of the Sanata Dharma University of the Jesuits in Yogyakarta. The couple died when the roof of their home collapsed over them.

Residents of Jakarta hailing from the quake-hit zone are flocking to Gambir central station in search of a ticket to reach their relatives. Around the capital, large groups of people are milling around various stands of buses headed for Yogyakarta, Klaten and Surakarta, hoping to arrive before nightfall.

Thousands of survivors have decided to spend the night in the open air, outside their homes, for fear of further tremors: there is no electricity and often not even a candle to light up the dark.

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