10/08/2009, 00.00
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Bishop of Padang: "compassion" among people, stronger than the devastation of the earthquake

by Mathias Hariyadi
Bishop Martinus Dogma Situmorang thanks for the aid and calls for the cooperation of civil engineers to assess the practicability of structures. Several Catholic buildings have suffered extensive damage, including the hospital, which continues to operate despite the emergency.

Padang (AsiaNews) - Thanks for the aid to our "brothers and sisters" in the areas affected by the earthquake, but our thoughts are now on the immediate future, on reconstruction in an atmosphere of mutual “compassion”, because in the midst of utter devastation, "I saw something good in society. " So says Martinus Dogma Situmorang, bishop of Padang, the area hit last week by an earthquake of magnitude 7.6 that causing 739 deaths, which the Red Cross estimates to be at least 3 thousand.


In the aftermath of the earthquake, the bishop visited the area and tells of the "total darkness", the "lack of electricity, except some areas where generators are available”. He noted the "strong and great compassion among people," including "the work of volunteers" and support centres "set up in a short time", this has "deeply touched” him because in a scenario of "such devastation I saw something good in society. "


The bishop of Padang confirmed the death of "dozens of Catholics" and the work of frantic doctors and nurses in the Catholic hospital Yos Sudarso in Padang", to help in the emergency by providing their own operating theatres, because the governmental structures of  RS M. Jamil and RS Pusat Daerah "were totally paralyzed." To the work of health personnel the efforts of the Indonesian Caritas must be added, which "is doing everything to help the victims", regardless of "ethnicity or religious belief."  

Several Catholic buildings in Padang have suffered severe damage including the aforementioned hospital, the cathedral - engineers will evaluate whether to begin restoration or build a completely new church - many schools, the pastoral centre, the monastery, monastery chapel and bishops residence .  

  "What we need most - concludes Msgr. Martinus Dogma Situmorang - is the availability of construction engineers, to verify the practicability of the buildings. There are many things to do in the future, but let me express my thanks and gratitude for the sympathy and support received. "






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