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Caritas to build new homes for Indonesian cyclone victims

Church's social arm says relief efforts to help survivors of floods that killed scores will continue well into next year

Caritas to build new homes for Indonesian cyclone victims

Volunteers check relief supplies at a coordination post in Larantuka Diocese in East Nusa Tenggara province for those affected by Tropical Cyclone Seroja. (Photo supplied)

Caritas Indonesia (Karina) has announced it will build new homes for survivors of a cyclone that triggered floods and mudslides that killed more than 180 people in an eastern province this month.

The plan by the Catholic Church's social arm is part of continued efforts to help thousands of victims of tropical Cyclone Seroja that struck East Nusa Tenggara province on April 5, Easter Sunday, killing 181 people, injuring many more and damaging thousands of homes. Officials say 47 people are still missing following the disaster.

“The government will officially end its humanitarian aid efforts on May 5, so Karina will work with benefactors and Caritas in Larantuka Diocese to continue assistance, including the construction of homes,” Father Fredy Rante Taruk, Karina’s director, told UCA News.

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He said Karina and Caritas in Larantuka Diocese will also provide cash assistance as well as educational and psycho-social services. 

“The cash will help them to buy household items, house reconstruction tools and other basic needs,” he said. 

He said Karina will give up to 1,000,000 rupiah (US$70) a family and help fund, together with other benefactors, rehabilitation and reconstruction programs that will last well into next year. 

We are still distributing foodstuffs and other items to replace what was lost in the flooding

Father Taruk said most of the new homes to be built will be on the islands of Adonara and Lembata, the two worst-hit areas. Of the 181 people who died, 72 were from Adonara, and 67 in Lembata. 

The Karina director did not reveal how many homes his organization would build, only saying the main priority was to help those who lost their homes or those whose houses were badly damaged. 

Meanwhile, the Sant’Egidio Community in Indonesia, a Catholic lay group, has been helping victims in Malaka district since the cyclone struck.

“We are still distributing foodstuffs and other items to replace what was lost in the flooding,” coordinator Eveline Winarko said.

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