West Papua diocese aids disaster victims

West Papua diocese aids disaster victims

UCANews, 6 October 2010


A map showing the floods and mudslides that hit Wasior in West Papua


Manokwari-Sorong diocese in the predominantly Protestant province of West Papua in eastern indonesia has distributed aid to survivors of floods and mudslides that killed 64 people and left hundreds of casualties.

The recurrent torrential downpours leading to the Oct. 4 disaster also destroyed hundreds of houses, two schools, two hospitals and a hotel in Wasior, Teluk Wondama district.

“We are collecting instant noodles, eggs, clothes, blankets and tents from Catholics in the diocese,” said Father Mendardus Harsono from St. Augustine Church in Manokwari.

He said parish priests from all 24 parishes in the diocese agreed to collect money from parishioners or use their parish funds to aid the survivors.

Father Mendardus added that they encountered problems with transportation and communication. “We cannot use airplanes because the Wasior airport is temporary closed. So we plan to use navy ships,” he said. “It has also been difficult to coordinate with the 472 Catholics in the affected areas but we asked them to build soup kitchens to help survivors in the meantime,” he added.

Father Paulus Sigit Pramudji, who heads Caritas Indonesia (Karina), confirmed that he has contacted the local Church. “We will also distribute relief aid,” he said.

“I hope NGOs, media and others can coordinate with one another in order to help victims,” Klemen Tinal, head of Mimika district in Papua province said.

Agung Laksono, Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare said that the national government will hand over 200 million rupiah or about US$22,400 in cash to help survivors.