Brethren Disaster Ministries Monitors Events in Samoa and Indonesia

Newsline Update: Disaster Response
Oct. 1, 2009

“The Lord is my shepherd…” (Psalm 23:1a).


Tsunami damage at the port of Pago Pago. Photo credit: Casey Deshong/FEMA

Brethren Disaster Ministries is monitoring disaster situations in the South Pacific island of Samoa and surrounding islands, and in Indonesia, through ecumenical partner organization Church World Service (CWS).

A massive tsunami swept over the island of Samoa and surrounding islands on Tuesday, Sept. 29. The giant 20-foot high wave claimed the lives of at least 146 Samoans as it flooded coastal villages, and the death toll is expected to rise. An 8.0-magnitude earthquake 120 miles off the coast of Samoa is being blamed for the disaster.

The next day, Sept. 30, at least 770 people in Indonesia on the island of Sumatra were killed by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake, and rescuers continue searching the rubble for survivors. Particularly hard-hit was the city of Padang, the provincial capital. Padang’s hospital was heavily damaged.

American Samoa has received a disaster declaration from President Obama, allowing deployment of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) response teams to this US Territory.

CWS Indonesia staff report that the level of damage there is “far worse” than the Sept. 2 earthquake that rattled West Java. CWS is responding with non-food relief items such as family tents, blankets, and relief kits.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is standing ready if needed to help fund material resource shipments through CWS to alleviate the human suffering caused by these disasters.

— Jane Yount serves as coordinator for Brethren Disaster Ministries.

Go to www.brethren.org/newsline to subscribe or unsubscribe. Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, cobnews@brethren.org or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with other special issues sent as needed. The next regularly scheduled issue is set for Oct. 7. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source.

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