CRISIS - Eruptions of Mount Merapi, near Yogyakarta —2010
Since the eruptions of Merapi began on October 25, 2010, we have been busy trying to help some of the people who were staying in temporary shelters. Our focus was on sending emergency supplies to those who have been evacuated. So far we have been able to buy and send drinking water, nutritious drinks, baby food and baby milk, sleeping mats for both adults and children, blankets , children and baby clothes, medical supplies and cooked food. Being part of an international religious congregation means that we have extra financial resources to call on at a time like this – which is a big help. Also in practical terms – it would not be possible to help many people if we worked alone – we are blessed to have a great network of friends to rely on – both young and old. We have worked together cooking food and bagging supplies. Thank God for teamwork! We are grateful for all of your support and prayer at this time.
Feeding Thousands … November 12, 2010
The total number of people displaced by the recent eruptions of Merapi is now more than 300.000. Along with thousands of others we are doing what we can to help. We have established an emergency post in our house and from here we are distributing all manner of goods for example: water, dried food, clothes, blankets, medicine etc…
We are also cooking food and sending it out to some of the shelters. We (and our friends) are cooking up to 1000 meals a day. Tonight we are preparing food for 600… We'll be peeling onions and garlic and frying smoked fish. Early tomorrow morning some of the women in our parish community will cook the vegetables and others will cook the rice. As soon as the food is cooked some of our young friends will come to help us wrap the food in newspaper. It will then be taken immediately to one of the general kitchens where it will be distributed. After a brief rest the whole process will be repeated with a slightly different menu.
When I think of all the ordinary people throughout Yogyakarta who are cooking meals – between us feeding thousands – I am reminded of the story of the feeding of the five thousand in the Gospels. I am sure that Jesus is present with us today and giving thanks to God for this great act of love.
The Crisis Continues ...
It is now almost four weeks since the first of the most recent eruptions and some of those evacuated are still in temporary shelters. Even though most people are beginning to find their way home we all know that this crisis is far from over – indeed in some ways the worst is yet to come. Thousands upon thousands of families have lost everything: their homes, their crops and their livestock. In some places the land is scorched and barren; in others the volcanic ash has totally destroyed the vegetation including the rice fields, and the fruit and vegetable plantations. The water supplies have been seriously disrupted and in some cases poisoned with volcanic matter. Not only is there a shortage of drinking water but the fish have died. In a situation like this it is hard for some people to hold on to hope.
In our own small way we are trying to help where we can and especially trying to help people to look to the future. In some cases we are continuing to supply basic foods and other essential supplies. We are planning for two major projects: funding income generating schemes and paying school fees. Hopefully, we can support a good number of families until they are once more able to support themselves.
After Merapi - Generating Love
Two days ago three of our sisters went with 25 young people to help to clean the small church in a village only 8KM from the crater. This village has been badly damaged and yet the people have returned and are busy cleaning their homes and trying to salvage crops and to take care of what is left of their livestock. The little church was still standing but oh – the mess inside! It was heart breaking to see it. Knowing how much that church means to that community our sisters decided to gather a group of young people to go and help clean it. They set off at 7am this morning loaded down with supplies including cleaning equipment, lanterns, food and water. By the end of the day the little church was clean and a great deal of love had been generated in the process.
After Merapi - A Heartwarming Story!
In the midst of all the horror and devastation caused by the recent eruptions there are also many stories of great kindness and generosity. Let me share one with you. A few days ago some of our sisters were visiting one of the villages badly damaged by volcanic ash and they saw a huge lorry filled with rice and vegetables arrive. The people from a village that had not been damaged by the volcano had gathered the food and rented the lorry and had come to distribute it to those who had lost their produce. Those who gave the food are not wealthy people – they shared what they had harvested with those who had lost their produce…This was a case of the poor feeding the poor – and finding the money to rent the lorry. I was deeply moved when I heard this story…I hope that I can be as generous in giving to those in need, I hope we all can…