Catholic hospitals, churches aid earthquake victims

.- Catholic hospitals are in the thick of the rescue-and-recovery efforts in Indonesia after a magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit Yogyakarta, killing nearly 6,000 people and leaving more than 100,000 homeless.

Outreach teams of doctors and nurses from Catholic hospitals are visiting destroyed villages in the five affected districts. Ten doctors and 100 nurses are already at work. They are providing medical assistance to the injured and traumatized in the field, reported the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.

Development and Peace is the Canadian arm of Caritas Internationalis, the worldwide Catholic humanitarian agency. It is the official international development and emergency relief organization of the Catholic Church in Canada.

"The seven Catholic hospitals in the province have opened their doors and we are helping as much as we can," said Duncan MacLaren, secretary general of Caritas Internationalis. Another five doctors and 25 nurses are being sent from Catholic hospitals in Jakarta and Bandung.

In addition, local Catholic churches and church buildings are housing survivors and providing food and first aid, reported MacLaren.

"We also have Caritas staff from Indonesia, the Netherlands, Germany and the USA in the area,” said MacLaren. “Caritas agencies had pre-positioned resources in Central Java in the event of the displacement of people living near the erupting volcano of Mount Merapi.”

The assessment of needs is in progress and will be coordinated with local authorities.

Like other Caritas agencies, Development and Peace is accepting funds to aid victims of the massive earthquake. Development and Peace is headquartered in Montreal.

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