Indonesian Church: more than 100,000 dollars for Java quake survivors

The Crisis Centre of the Indonesian Bishops' Conference, which has been on the frontline to offer aid, has declared the emergency phase is winding up in Yogyakarta region. The director has declared he is "proud of the response from different communities". More than 100,000 dollars were raised in Indonesia alone in just over 10 days.

Yogyakarta (AsiaNews) –The emergency phase of aid for quake survivors in Java is drawing to a close, said the director of the Crisis Centre of the Indonesian Bishops' Conference (KWI). Fr Ignatius Ismartono said he was "proud" of the work undertaken by volunteers and by the generous response in terms of aid donated by Indonesians. The numbers speak for themselves: in just over 10 days, the aid campaign launched by the centre collected exactly 100,500 US dollars, "all coming from Indonesia". But the response from abroad was poor. The Jesuit priest said: "This aid is just donations sent to the bishops' conference. The KWI is far from the only channel of aid. Those who have mobilized the most so far are parishes in Java, and the dioceses of Semarang and Jakarta, which continue to collect clothes, food and tents."

Every night, the teams of the Crisis Centre send a truck to affected zones in the whereabouts of Yogyakarta. Survivors of the quake, which killed nearly 6,000 people on 27 May, still need tents. Fr Ismartono said: "Here, people are still removing debris. Those who are able to, live in tents; many are still living in the open air as no one wants to go into walled buildings for fear of more tremors."

"The emergency phase in the districts around Yogyakarta is coming to an end," added the priest. "We are preparing to enter the so-called 'post-emergency' phase, and we will need material to rebuild homes. We have already started to buy something from towns nearby rather than Jakarta, where prices are much higher. The next step, before reconstruction proper, will be to strengthen those buildings still standing, and as far as the population is concerned, to assist the neediest among the victims, for example, by getting wheelchairs and crutches for disabled people."

In the latest 72 hours, a new displacement emergency was provoked by the evacuation of more than 15,000 people from the area around the huge Merapi volcano, near the epicenter of the May quake that struck Java island. Large clouds of gas and ash warned of the intensification of volcanic activity, creating panic among residents.