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SCIAF launches emergency appeal to help survivors of Indonesian earthquakes and tsunami

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) has launched an emergency appeal to help survivors of the devastating earthquakes and tsunami which have hit Indonesia.

SCIAF immediately released £20,000 for emergency aid to its sister agency Caritas Indonesia who are responding on the ground. Now the charity is urging the Scottish public to give what they can to help the many thousands who are grieving, have lost loved ones, and are now homeless, hungry and in desperate need.

The tsunami which crashed into the coastal city of Palu on Sulawesi island has left over 840 people dead, hundreds injured and many homes, businesses and local services destroyed. Around 48,000 people have been left homeless.

SCIAF’s Director, Alistair Dutton, who has led many responses to major earthquakes and disasters, including the Asian Tsunami and Haiti Earthquake, said: “Responding to a disaster of this magnitude presents huge challenges. Limited communications, damaged roads, bridges and airports, access to remote areas, all make it extremely difficult to get emergency aid to survivors quickly.

“Caritas Indonesia has sent teams from the surrounding dioceses to help people in the area. These are badly hampered by interruptions to communications and transport but they are quickly trying to assess the situation and find out what people need. The urgent priorities will be burials, water, food and temporary shelter, and disease outbreaks and public health are already significant concerns. Our partners and others are doing everything they can to get help to people as quickly as possible.

“My thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones and are now left to pick up the pieces. I would urge everyone to please give what you can to help the people of Indonesia recover from the immediate disaster, and rebuild their homes and lives in the months and years ahead. Thank you for your generosity!”

Six-metre-high waves swept through the city of Palu on Sulawesi island after a magnitude 7.5 earthquake just off the coast on Friday evening. Strong aftershocks continue to hit the island. Thousands of homes have been destroyed together with hospitals and hotels. Many bridges are destroyed and roads remain blocked.

In July and August a series of earthquakes hit Lombok island to the south, killing 500 people. Caritas Indonesia provided food packages for over 3,000 people, along with hygiene kits, tarpaulins, blankets and sleeping mats. They were responding to that disaster when the tsunami hit Palu.

People can donate to SCIAF’s Indonesian Earthquakes and Tsunami Appeal at www.sciaf.org.uk or by calling 0141 354 5555.

Picture: Photo taken on 1st October 2018 shows debris of buildings in Palu after the deadly earth quake and tsunami in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. (Iqbal Lubis/Xinhua/PA).