Death-tolls following the 8.7-magnitute earthquake off the coast of Indonesia shot up to 1,000 by last Tuesday. And as the first foreign military help arrived, officials said the toll can double to 2,000 pending full search of the collapsed buildings.
Rev. R. Randy Day, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, said the March 28th earthquake has “enlarged needs for assistance” in the area.
United Methodists collected more than $15 million for the United Methodist Committee on Relief for tsunami relief efforts.
UMC-related pastors and staff in the area plan to bring in food and medical assistance for those affected by the tumbler – mostly in Indonesia’s Nias Island.
Meanwhile, members of the global alliance Action by Churches Together (ACT) International in Indonesia already began sending shipments of relief supplies to the affected areas today, although access to Nias is still difficult.
Church World Service Indonesia (CWS) has prepared 35 boxes of medicines, 14 boxes of gloves, 500 tents and 1,000 packages of non-food items at the ACT warehouse in Medan. These supplies will be sent to Nias Wednesday, ACT said, on a U.N. helicopter along with a water-purification unit and other related equipment prepared by CWS and Norwegian Church Aid, another ACT member. Two CWS staff members will also be sent to Nias to assess the needs of survivors.
Meanwhile, Dr. Norman Peeler, a medical coordinator from the World Health Organization, said medical treatments were critically necessary.
"We know there are many people critically injured," said Peeler. “It is essential they get treatment, infections spread easily in open wounds."
UMC’s Randy Day urged Christians to respond o this need by giving what they can.
“The new tragedy intensifies the need for relief efforts and prolongs the process of social and economic restoration,” Day said. “It means that UMCOR needs a steady flow of support from across our global church.”
Donations for UMCOR’s tsunami relief efforts can be placed in local church offering plates or sent directly to UMCOR at 475 Riverside Dr., Room 330, New York, NY 10115. Designate checks for UMCOR Advance No. 274305 and “South Asia Emergency.” Credit-card donations can be made online at www.methodistrelief.org or by calling (800) 554-8583.