ASIA NEWS REPORT
by Mathias Hariyadi
Governor Jokowi launches state of emergency and an appeal to
raise funds for flood victims. The toll is 11 dead and thousands displaced.
Rice, water and basic necessities sent from archdiocese of the capital, which
operates as a center for collecting and sorting. Faithful respond
"enthusiastically" to the call by the priests.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Indonesian Catholics are responding to appeals from the
civil authorities in Jakarta, with a collection of goods and basic necessities
for the displaced due to heavy floods in the capital (see AsiaNews 17/01 / 13 Jakarta
paralysed by heavy flooding and traffic congestion). Yesterday, the governor
Joko "Jokowi" Widodo declared a "state of emergency", launching a formal request
for aid; a quarter of the capital is flooded and, according to local sources,
the wall of water in some places has reached four meters high. The toll so far
is 11 dead, with tens of thousands of people left homeless. The areas most
affected is Kampung Melayu, East Jakarta, crossed by the river Ciliwung, which
burst its banks and is one of the main causes of flooding.
groups, activist organizations and ordinary citizens, including Catholics have
responded to the appeal launched by the authorities. In the Kampung Melayu, the
parish of St. Anthony in Bidara Cina opened its doors to people of all
religions, hosting many refugees and offering them shelter. The Church
initiative was joined by different groups of the faithful who have managed to
collect food, drinking water and items for personal hygiene.
Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world, Catholics are a small
minority of about 7 million people, equivalent to 3% of the total population. In
the Archdiocese of Jakarta, the faithful amount to 3.6% of the population. The
constitution provides for freedom of religion, but the community is often the
victim of acts of violence and abuse, especially in areas where an extremist
view of Islam is more entrenched, as in Aceh. However, as in this instance, they
are an active part in society and contribute to the development of the nation or
aid work during emergencies.
Among the many examples of solidarity is an
initiative launched by Catholic lay woman Theresa Rita, from parish of St.
Joseph in Matraman, who responded "enthusiastically" to the call of the priests
of the capital. Using smartphones and social networks, the woman set up a
mailing list, sending out an appeal for the collection of so-called " nasi
bungkus", small bags containing rice and water. The generosity of the people has
resulted in thousands of these small parcels, even from other dioceses of the
In Bogor, in fact, a fundraiser was held sponsored by
Suparman Surjadi and his wife Linda Nurtjahja, a doctor by profession, and
Ingrid Barata, among all the faithful of the parish of St. Francis Xavier. "We
immediately received millions in donations," Surjadi told AsiaNews "sent by many
Catholics who wished to support our mission." The goods collected are allocated
to the committee for social activities of the Archdiocese of Jakarta, which acts
as a clearinghouse. The Bishops' Conference of Indonesia (KWI) also actively
contributes to the aid work, to alleviate the suffering of the people in the
capital paralyzed by floods.
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