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Indonesia

Church groups supply Indonesia's poor with Covid-19 aid

Caritas and dioceses team up to provide food, disinfectant and protective gear as part of coronavirus battle

Church groups supply Indonesia's poor with Covid-19 aid

A pastoral care team from Bandung Diocese in West Java distributes disinfectant to parishes on March 27. (Photo supplied by Caritas of Bandung Diocese)

Caritas Indonesia and dioceses across the archipelago are offering Covid-19 help to the poor and marginalized groups.
 
Caritas Indonesia’s executive director, Father Fredy Rante Taruk, told UCA News on March 31 that the Catholic charity has sent funds to 12 dioceses to buy disinfectant, face masks, hand sanitizer and necessities such as food that will be distributed to people affected by the novel coronavirus.
 
“The money is to help each diocese give priority aid to the poor and vulnerable groups,” Father Taruk said.
 
He said Caritas Indonesia has disbursed about US$86,000 to the dioceses — which he didn’t name — since last week. “The funds will be used to provide other personal protective equipment for dioceses that have difficulty getting it,” he added.
 
Meanwhile, the Daya Dharma Institution (LDD), the social service bureau of Jakarta Archdiocese, established a solidarity post on March 27 in one of the archdiocese’s buildings to distribute food to the poor in Jakarta.
 
The group is also fundraising and disinfecting various locations to conquer Covid-19.
 
“Since last week we have organized several activities that will last for the next three months or until the Covid-19 threat ends,” Jesuit Father Christopher Kristiono Puspo, the LDD director, told UCA News on April 1.
 
“The main purpose is to help marginalized people get proper assistance,” he said, adding that 25 volunteers disinfect schools and houses each day.
 
The group also distributes 350 boxes of food every day to motorists, scavengers, tricycle drivers, people with disabilities, the homeless, elderly and transgenders. It instructs volunteers to maintain physical boundaries to prevent further spread of the virus.
 
Father Puspo said the Church is also conducting fundraising in cooperation with interfaith groups and the Indonesian Red Cross.
 
Meanwhile, Pontianak Archdiocese in West Kalimantan in association with GP Ansor, the youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest moderate Islamic organization in Indonesia, is also helping the poor and buying personal protective equipment for medical workers.
 
”The pandemic knows no race, ethnicity, religion, social class or group. But it’s important that we [people of different religions] do something to help other people,” Archbishop Agustinus Agus of Pontianak said.
 
He said they had also raised about 550 million rupiah (US$40,000) to buy one million food packs to be distributed to the needy.
 
People who rely on a daily wage are the most vulnerable, said Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, chairman of GP Ansor. “Food is distributed to those who depend on a daily income because they are in great difficulty now that they have been ordered to stay at home,” he said.
 
As of April 1, Indonesia had recorded 1,677 Covid-19 cases and 157 deaths.

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