By Kim Krull
Survivors of deadly floods in Jakarta expressed surprise when a Christian relief organization distributed rice and other foodstuffs to needy Indonesians — not just needy Christian Indonesians.
Darin Storkson, LCMS World Relief/Human Care’s regional director in Asia, said weary families saw other relief agencies responding only to their own people and “were surprised that we helped all people in need. They appreciated that we as the church were reaching out to them.”
Torrential rains and flash floods forced more than 400,000 people from their homes in early February, submerging as much as 70 percent of this capital city. People waded through filthy water up to their necks and awaited rooftop rescues.
Despite its own loss of communication tools, LCMS World Relief/ Human Care’s regional office in Jakarta organized an immediate response, distributing more than 3,600 kg (about 4,500 pounds) of rice plus thousands of boxes and crates of milk, noodles, and other foodstuffs to about 2,000 families.
The Synod’s international mercy ministry also replaced lost books and school supplies for more than 400 children.
Two weeks after the flooding began, Storkson said the water had receded but huge needs continued. A quarter-million Indonesians remained homeless. At least 57 deaths were blamed on what has been described as Jakarta’s worst flooding in years.
LCMS World Relief/Human Care distributed emergency supplies to people in four communities near its office in Jakarta, a predominantly Muslim city. Storkson also worked with partner congregations of the Protestant Christian Batak Church (a church body with Lutheran affiliations) in Indonesia to identify other needy families.
“We had a huge rain again today, and the monsoons can continue until mid-March,” Storkson said in a telephone interview Feb. 16. “Even as people try to clean up and get back in their homes, if they have homes left, there’s the potential for more flooding.”
Several communities are overwhelmed with post-flood medical problems, Storkson said, primarily sanitation-related gastrointestinal disorders.
To help purchase relief supplies to ease suffering in Indonesia, make a check payable to LCMS World Relief/Human Care, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO 63166-9810. Mark “Indonesia Floods” in the memo line. Gifts also may be donated online at http://worldrelief.lcms.org or by calling toll-free (888) 930-4438.
Posted March 1, 2007