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Church aids victims of Indonesia earthquake

BENGKULU Indonesia — The Church has been providing assistance to victims of a 7.9 magnitude earthquake that struck this area the evening of Wednesday Sept. 12. The quake severely damaged about 30000 homes and other buildings in the Bengkulu area. Among the worst hit villages were Laise Argamakmur and Mukomuko.
Photo courtesy Indonesia Jakarta MissionIn advance of aid from LDS Charities Elder Ralph Walker with local resident assesses damage done in Indonesia by earthquake.
LDS Charities under leadership from the Asia Area presidency quickly began providing aid. A group of Church volunteers sent to evaluate the situation gave early relief by providing rice cooking oil and other food commodities kerosene lanterns and tarps and other life-preserving items.
Two days after the quake LDS Charities staff arrived in the city of Bengkulu and north to Laise and Argamakmur where they found many homes vacated because of damage. The damage was so extensive that residents were living outside with blue tarps strung up to protect them from the tropical sun and rain storms. Many of those whose homes were not damaged were afraid to live in them because of ongoing earthquake activity and were also living outside in tarp-covered shelters.
The next day LDS Charities returned with a truck load of food to assist about 500 families in the Laise and Argamakmur areas stopping at several other villages along the way.
In Argamakmur the local hospital was damaged requiring the hospital staff to temporarily evacuate patients to large army tents outside on the parking lot and sidewalks. Emergencies were received and surgery performed on a covered sidewalk just outside the damaged hospital building.
To facilitate ongoing aid LDS Charities teamed with Muhammadiyah a local Muslim organization founded in 1912 and an independent Christian association. Muhammadiyah is the second largest Islamic organization in Indonesia with 29 million members. It has devoted itself to social and educational activities.
LDS Charities provided a truckload of rice and other food to Muhammadiyah which transported it on a seven-hour trip to the Mukomuko area north of Bengkulu. The Church also made a large donation to the Christian association which covered the area of Bengkulu City.

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