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Tsunami in South-East Asia

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From: "Idjcc" <idjcc@telkom.net>
To: "Superior General SVD" <svd.supgen@verbodivino.it>
Cc: "Niels B. Johansen" <svd.communications@verbodivino.it>
Sent: Saturday, January 01, 2005 3:59 AM
Subject: Re: Asian Disaster / Information - Relief

Dear Fr. Pernia,

Happy New Year! Hopefully God will continue blessing us with courage and creativity for our missionary services. Further to my previous e-mail, here I am again.

The Indian Ocean Tsunami has brought the nation into a deep grief. Yesterday official statement released a shocking figure of nearly 80,000 people died in Aceh and North Sumatera. This number will increase because many isolated villages and towns on west coast of Aceh are still inaccessible. Now we are worried that people who survive the tsunami will face another big threat of starvation and disease. Thanks God, the government has deployed national army, navy, air force and police to take necessary action to help. Foods are dropped from the air where land access is impossible. Many volunteers from Surabaya and anywhere around the country are also making their way to Aceh.

As teens of flight everyday from Banda Aceh to Medan bring survivals, our mission stations in Nias and North Sumatera are bracing themselves to face the waves of refugees. They used to experience that for political reason, however, this time because of a very distinctive cause, a natural disaster.

I want to underline one interesting thing. As you might have known, there are regular attacks on Christian churches everywhere in Indonesia during the last few years. This latest disaster brings some sense of unity. The nation is united in grief. The national union of Christian civil servants canceled their Christmas celebration, in which the president was scheduled to give a talk. Echoing this cancellation, many companies, hotels, offices etc - including the union of religious congregation in the Diocese of Surabaya which I chair - also cancelled all planned Christmas parties. Students, even schoolboys and schoolgirls, are on streets to collect money for Aceh. Thanks to God, I observed that many people generously donated their money for that purpose. We hope that this money will reach the victims of the tsunami. A friend of mine, a Moslem cleric which is also in charge of a Moslem seminary, clearly expressed his amazement. "I cannot believe that you do these all for my brothers and sisters in Aceh", he said.

The Administrator of the Diocese of Surabaya, Rev. Fr. Julius Haryanto, CM, officiated a requiem mass for the dead, on December 30, 2004. In last night (31/12/2004) fund raising in a hotel, during the vigil of New Year, Fr. Lambert Paji Seran, SVD, hold a prayer with two Moslem clerics for the same purpose. Here I wonder, why we need such a horrific disaster like this to unite us regardless our different ethnics, religions, cultures, etc?

Pray for us.