CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 December 2018

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Lombok hit by another powerful earthquake

JAKARTA (UCAN/CNS): At least 105 people were confirmed dead as at the time of going to press, after a magnitude seven earthquake struck Indonesia’s Lombok Island on August 5 a week after it was struck a magnitude 6.4 quake that killed more than a dozen people (Sunday Examiner, August 5).
 
More than 200 people were injured in the latest quake, which also jolted the neighbouring tourist island of Bali, damaged thousands of buildings and forced thousands of people to flee their homes, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, UCAN reported.
 
According to agency spokesperson, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the victims urgently need medical supplies, clean water, food, blankets, mattresses and tents.
 
“The quake was stronger than before. The church ceiling fell down, but the church’s walls remain intact,” Father Laurensius Maryono, parish priest of St. Mary Immaculate Church said on August 6. The church was among the buildings which suffered damage in the West Nusa Tenggara provincial capital of Mataram.
 
“There were no casualties as there was no religious activities going on in the church when the quake occurred,” Father Maryono said.   
 
“Some parishioners are currently trying to clean up the church and get rid of the debris,” he said.
 
The parish emergency response team was coordinating with the team from the Diocese of Denpasar to distribute aid to victims, Father Maryono added. 
 
“They will go to the worst-hit areas of North Lombok and East Lombok districts to collect data. We will continue collect aid for victims, something we had started doing for victims of last week’s quake,” he said.
 
CNS reported that Pope Francis sent words of condolences and solidarity through Vatican secretary of state, Pietro Cardinal Parolin.
 
In his message the pope prayed “especially for the repose of the deceased, the healing of the injured and the consolation of all who grieve the loss of their loved ones.”
 
Cardinal Parolin added, “In offering encouragement to the civil authorities and those involved in the search and rescue efforts as they assist the victims of this disaster, His Holiness willingly invokes upon the people of Indonesia divine blessings of consolation and strength.”
 
The disaster agency reported that last week’s tremor killed at least 16 people, left 355 people injured and forced more than 5,100 people to flee their homes. 
 
Meanwhile, Holy Spirit Cathedral parish in Denpasar, Bali, reported only slight damage in the August 5 quake.
 
Catholic hospitals sent medical teams to treat the injured even as officials expected the body count to rise. Most of the casualties were caused by falling rubble as structures collapsed.
 
“Medical workers are really needed right now to treat the victims,” Sister Paulina from the Congregation of Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit said on August 7.
 
The spokesperson of St. Anthony Catholic Hospital in the provincial capital of Mataram, said the hospital had treated over a dozen victims so far.
 
“We placed them in the hospital’s parking area as the situation was unpredictable, aftershocks continued to happen. This morning we took them to the hospital’s treatment rooms,” she said.
 
In the neigbouring Gili Islands, an estimated 2,000 or more people were being evacuated after spending a nerve-wracking night camped on top of a mountain.

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