Medan (Fides Service) - Franciscan religious communities in Asia are working side by side with the many organisations involved in assisting the victims of the December 26 tsunami disaster. In Indonesia the Franciscans have two centres for coordinating aid, the JPIC Crisis Centre in Jakarta and the Franciscans of Indonesia Crisis Centre in Medan, on the island of Sumatra. In India Franciscan men and women religious and lay persons are involved in aid work in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
The centres in Indonesia are coordinating aid for victims in Aceh, in cooperation with NGOs and local authorities. It is important in this post-disaster situation, Franciscans in Medan told Fides, to guarantee regular supplies of water, food, healthcare to prevent disease and also to protect countless children orphaned by the disaster from possible violence and abuse. In this field the local authorities are working closely with UNICEF. The Franciscan communities have identified vulnerable groups in need of more assistance.
Franciscans in Indonesia and India working to assist tsunami victims are receiving full support in prayers and collection of funds from Franciscans International, NGO accredited to the United Nations which has mobilised the Franciscan network of male and female and lay orders.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 17/1/2005 righe 27 parole 284)