ASIA/INDONESIA - Earthquake on the archipelago: fear but no major damage for the Camillians on the island of Flores

Wednesday, 11 January 2023


Maumere (Agenzia Fides) - The earthquake that hit Indonesia on Tuesday, January 10, affected the island of South Maluku, one of the provinces of the archipelago. The earthquake was also felt in several neighboring islands, such as Papua, Timor and Flores, where the San Camillo Seminary is located.
"The tremor occurred in the middle of the night, while we were all sleeping - writes Agustinus Gunadin, a Camillian seminarian in Flores. It was so strong that all of us seminarians woke up and ran to get to the two-story building. Apart from minor damage to the interior furnishings, the structure of the Seminary did not suffer any damage".
Yolenta Nalut, another seminarian, said that the vibrations of the earthquake were felt for several seconds and that, after overcoming the initial fear that got them out of bed, after receiving instructions from the Rector of the Seminary, they were invited to return to their rooms an hour after event. "In general, the houses around the Seminary were not damaged because the tremor was not too strong," adds Engelbertus Klau.
The island suffers frequent seismic episodes and the population lives on perpetual alert for new tremors.
"Here in Flores and in Kupang, on the island of Timor, fortunately we have only felt some tremors to which we are unfortunately used to", wrote Fr. Luigi Galvani, MI, from Maumere.
The Camillian missionaries run three formation houses on the island of Flores and one on the island of Timor, as well as the San Camillo Social Center of Maumere, a point of reference for various charitable initiatives.
The country's disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) reports damaged homes and schools in Tanimbar Islands, Maluku province. The strongest tremor occurred in Saumlaki, the largest city in the archipelago, where some 8,000 people live.
In November 2022, a strong earthquake struck Java, the main Indonesian island, killing more than 600 people, damaging 22,000 houses and displacing more than 58,000. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 11/1/2023)