The Asia-Pacific is going through another round of disasters. Starting with the Lombok earthquake, Kerala floods, Japan earthquake/landslides, Typhoon in the Philippines and Japan, now we have met with another tragedy in the face of a 7.5 earthquake followed by Tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Latest report says that more than 1300 people have lost lives, but there could be more since there are more people are trapped in the rubble. More than 48,000 people have been displaced. 150,000 students from an approx. 1000 schools are affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

While we are faced with a very difficult situation, we want you to know that our people from APBAid, in partnership with Rebana, the aid arm of Union of Indonesian Baptist Churches has sent out its volunteers to collect information from ground zero.

Rebana representative Joshua Krisnawan reported, “Last week I was in Lombok, in order to support our social program under REBANA (Relawan Baptis Nusantara/National Baptist Volunteer). We support to supply food, build temporary shelter, and also another program to recover their life and economy to be normal. But, just hours before I left Lombok, we heard huge earthquake and tsunami hit Central Sulawesi and more than thousand killed in that disaster. Our team already reach Central Sulawesi for rapid assessment. Thanks for BFAD and APBAid for fully supporting us.”

CEO of TAI, John Hickey reports, “Rebana (Indonesian Baptist relief and development agency), which has sent a small investigating team to the area, and TAI/Baptist World Aid Australia is providing an initial grant to cover some Rebana’s starting proposal for food, water and shelter kits.”

He added, “APBAid (Asia Pacific Baptist Aid), the Indonesian Baptist relief and development agency, Rebana, alongside disaster and recovery experts from Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Hungarian Baptists and Transform Aid International (Australia) are actively involved in assessing needs and planning at the moment, supported by BWAid and other agencies such as BMS (UK) and American Baptist Convention.”

This is an hour that calls us all for reflection on how we respond to those affected. The damage is catastrophic. If you watched some of the videos on the Asia Pacific Facebook page, or other social media, it is heartbreaking at the enormity of the disaster and the pain our brothers and sisters are going through.