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Dioceses To Introduce Emergency Response And Preparedness Programs

Updated: December 15, 2008 11:25 AM GMT
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The Catholic Church in Indonesia is introducing training programs to help prepare people to respond quickly in emergency situations.
Participants at a group discussion furing the Nov. 24-26 "Emergency Response Network Forum I" organized by the Indonesian bishops´ Office of Humanitarian Services.
A group of 26 Church representatives involved in disaster management from across the country recently resolved to introduce programs of emergency response and preparedness (ERP), establish or strengthen emergency response teams (ERTs), and recruit and train volunteers in their respective localities. The representatives, including 11 priests, met Nov. 24-26 for the "Emergency Response Network Forum I" training program. The Indonesian bishops´ Office of Humanitarian Services, or Karitas Indonesia (Karina), conducted the program at Jesuit-run Samadi Retreat House in East Jakarta. The participants discussed their concerns in groups set up according to their regions: Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Bali and Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi and Maluku, and Papua. They concluded they should inform local Church leaders of their resolutions, introduce ERP at regional Church meetings in December and January, and begin setting up ERT and start training volunteers next March. ij_jakarta_2.gifJesuit Father Ignatius Ismartono, who coordinates the Indonesian bishops´ Center for Crises and Reconciliation, and John Ferdinand Mamoedi, special officer of the Indonesian Red Cross´ disaster management division, made forum presentations. Father Ismartono, whose crisis center has helped victims of disasters and conflicts nationwide, urged diocesan Karina organizations quickly to develop contacts with local volunteers, local Church hierarchy and donor institutions, as well as build interreligious cooperation. The priest, who also is deputy director of Karina, recalled that Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, apostolic nuncio to Indonesia, praised the crisis centre for responding within 24 hours of earthquakes that hit Bengkulu and West Sumatra in September 2007. Both provinces are on Sumatra Island in western Indonesia. Mamoedi spoke about practical concerns when one responds to disasters, such as managing information and logistics, and making decisions. Aribowo Nugroho and Lukas Arimurti, respectively Karina´s ERP project officer and training specialist, led the training. They helped participants understand Karina´s background, values, goals and focus, as well as the ERT structure and working environment. "I am glad they are ready to look for the right people to lead ERTs, build networks for quick information, train volunteers and send volunteers to places that need help," Nugroho told UCA News.
A role-play by participants of the Nov. 24-26 "Emergency Response Network Forum I" organized by the Indonesian bishops´ Office of Humanitarian Services.
The training featured some role playing. Participants also learned about building networks to link the national Karina and its diocesan affiliates. Father Ismartono said Karina will organize four more forums and has set a goal of having a "community" of 130 people to be trained by the end of 2009. He added that he expects more people with field experience, young people and women at the next forum. Some participants spoke of how the Church must develop its capacity to respond to disasters as part of its humanitarian mission. Some also highlighted the need for good planning and team cooperation. Joseph Indrawardana of Surabaya diocese in East Java told UCA News his diocese already has an ERT, "but the disaster management portion really enriched me, and I will go home to share it with my ERT." Disasters that have afflicted Indonesia in recent years include: the earthquake and tsunami in Aceh and North Sumatra provinces in December 2004; floods in Jakarta in February 2007 and in Central Sulawesi province in August 2007; mudslides in Flores, East Nusa Tenggara province, in March 2007; and earthquakes in West Sumatra and Bengkulu provinces in September 2007. END

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