12/28/2004, 00.00
Send to a friend

Great show of solidarity, ships and planes bring aid

by Mathias Hariyadi

Army declares ceasefire with GAM rebels to facilitate aid and rescue operations.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Indonesia is reacting to tragedy by discovering its citizens' sense of solidarity. Not only are people offering their help and funds being raised—by the diocese of Pontianak for instance—but the army chief of staff General Endriartono Sutarto announced a temporary ceasefire with the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka or GAM) so as to allow both side to help their compatriots without fear of attacks.

Mgr Hieronymus Bumbun OFM, Bishop of Pontianak, has pledged at least a billion rupiahs (€ 80,000 or US$ 107,000) in aid, a gesture motivated by Christ's compassion for human affairs.

In rescue centres, financial and material aid are being collected and distributed by the organising committees of Christmas celebrations.

Bishop Bunbun has urged Catholics in West Kalimantan (Borneo) to raise the national flag and join the three-day national rally that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called for yesterday.

Power is out and lines of communication and transportation were seriously damaged as a result of the huge wave (five to ten metres) that swept over the city of Banda Aceh, capital of oil-rich Aceh province.

According to Vice-President Jusuf Kalla, at least 1,500 bodies, mostly children and elderly, have been buried in a three-hectare field in the city. Hundreds of unclaimed bodies are still being found throughout the city.

Aceh police chief Inspector General Bahrumsyah Kasman reports that 300 of his officers and two helicopters are missing.

In the town of Meulaboh, which has been cut off from the rest of the country, about 100 police officers are missing.

Vice-President Jusuf Kalla estimates that the death toll in Aceh could reach 10,000. In the meantime, thousands of survivors lack food, water and medicines.

More importantly, the Zainal Abidin Main Hospital is understaffed because many nurses are missing. At the same time, its medical equipment is in "real bad shape" after soaking in sea water for hours.



Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Meulaboh, a ghost town
Hope is found in faith in Tamil Nadu tragedy
New Year celebrations cancelled in Jakarta
Religious and caste discrimination in government aid distribution in Tamil Nadu
After tsunami cynicism assails Christians, Muslims and Hindus


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”