October 29, 2010
After Oct. 25 tsunami, ELCA will send up to $46,280 in relief
The ELCA announced plans to send up to $46,280 for immediate relief to communities affected by the Oct. 25 tsunami that struck the Mentawai Islands off of Sumatra's western coast. The ELCA is responding to a specific request for funds from a relief agency in the area, Nommensen (Lutheran) University Center for Disaster Risk Management, said Megan Bradfield, ELCA associate director for international development and disaster response.
At least 340 people died and hundreds are reported missing as a result of the 10-foot tsunami, spawned by a 7.7 magnitude earthquake. The Indonesian government also reported that about 20,000 people were displaced by the tsunami.
According to Indonesian disaster officials, at least 10 villages on the Mentawai Islands, known as a destination for surfers, were swept away by the tsunami. Among the villages hardest hit were Sikakap, Tikako and Malakop, said Franklin Ishida, ELCA director for Asia and the Pacific.
The Nommensen University Center for Disaster Risk Management was born after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Bradfield said. That disaster caused at least 230,000 deaths in 14 countries, as well as significant coastal destruction throughout the Indian Ocean region.
Bradfield said the ELCA is working alongside 12 Lutheran churches in Indonesia, the Lutheran World Federation, Lutheran World Relief and Australian Lutheran World Service to provide "quick and much-needed relief to communities underserved during times of disaster."
The Nommensen University Center is the only nongovernmental organization based in Sikakap, Ishida said. The center was stationed there to help people rebuild after the 2004 tsunami and prepare for and mitigate similar future disasters. The center is works in collaboration with the Protestant Christian Church in Mentawai (a Lutheran church body) to respond to people affected by the tsunami, he said. Church members resided in most of the affected villages, Ishida said.
The center is working with the Protestant Christian Church in Mentawai to distribute food, kitchen supplies, plastic sheeting, blankets, hygiene kits and other items to nearly 200 families in the worst affected households, Ishida said. Eventually the center expects to assist as many as 500 families.