Manado (Agenzia Fides) - "I am here to give comfort and encourage the population that suffers": said the Bishop of Manado, Mgr. Benedictus Estephanus Rolly Untu, of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, addressing the displaced who are temporarily in the parish church of Santa Maria of the Sacred Heart, in the center of Palu, the city strongly hit by the earthquake that devastated the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on 28 September, in the East of the Indonesian archipelago.
As Agenzia Fides learns, hundreds of Catholic faithful in Palu found comfort in the recent visit of the Bishop, who also touched the most remote area of Kulawi, about 87 kilometers from Palu, with difficult road access due to heavy landslides that hinder the journey.
The Bishop, describing his humanitarian mission, told Fides: "The local Church is providing every possible humanitarian aid for the displaced persons in Sidera and Jonoogo, in the district of Sigi", including tents and survival kits. The area of Jonoogo suffered a serious damage due to the "liquefaction of the ground" (geophysical phenomenon) which occurred shortly after the strong earthquake. "Streets are destroyed, houses swallowed, rice fields have suddenly disappeared", says the Bishop, describing the tragic situation.
The Bishop will also go to Petobo where about 700 houses have been flooded with mud. Last stop of the mission is the housing complex of Talise Beach where "a-5-meter tsunami hit this dense populated area", he notes.
Palu and Sigi are located in the central Sulawesi region, but these places belong to the diocese of Manado (northern Sulawesi). The Bishop praised the priests of Palu for having quickly created a "Crisis Center" and a soup kitchen in the structures of the parish churches. (MH) (Agenzia Fides, 20/10/2018)