Earthquake has increased fears say Christian workers - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
March 29, 2005

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Earthquake has increased fears say Christian workers

-29/03/05

The earthquake off the coast of Sumatra which has killed hundreds of people has heightened the trauma and fear felt by many thousands of people across the region, report Tearfund relief workers in Indonesia.

Jon Kennedy, Programme Director in the region for the Christian agency, was in Sumatra's largest city of Medan when the 8.7 magnitude earthquake struck at around 11.00pm local time. "We thought it was just another aftershock. First there was a gentle rolling of the ground but then it erupted into something huge. It was difficult for us to get out of the house. As we put our feet down the floor would come up to meet us. Everybody ran into the streets."

Jon continued: "I was in Banda Aceh a few weeks ago when there was a heavy aftershock, much smaller than this, about 5.8 I think, and it caused mass panic in the streets, people were running to the hills. When we have aftershocks we notice that our Indonesian staff are still very nervous and are still very shaken up by it, much more so than the staff who were not here during the tsunami.

"Our Indonesian staff are reminded of the Boxing Day tsunami, from which all of them have tragic stories. Everybody knows someone who has lost not just one person in their families but many, many people."

More than 220,000 lives were lost in Indonesia when the Boxing Day tsunami struck. Tearfund has launched a five-year programme of rehabilitation and long-term reconstruction, working with several partners including World Relief who have been working to clean up homes and schools, alongside the ongoing work of medical teams.

Tearfund, a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee, is one of the UK's leading relief and development agencies, working in partnership with Christian agencies and churches around the world to tackle the causes and effects of poverty.

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