Indonesia: landslide update and how to help

Indonesia (MNN) — It’s been just over a week since a half-mile wide landslide crushed parts of the Indonesian island of Java on Saturday, April 1st.
Half-Mile Landslide
(Photo courtesy FMI)

The landslide destroyed a lot of buildings and, in his last report, FMI’s Bruce Allen says at least 300 people have been displaced. Furthermore, about 30 people remain missing, buried under approximately 56-feet of mud and debris.

Following the initial landslide, there have been numerous other landslides through the island as well.

“The beginning of this month, in April, Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency recorded 251 landslides across the country so far in 2017. That’s a lot,” FMI’s Bruce Allen shares.

Combined with widespread flooding, Indonesians have been warned of the potential for more landslides. About 17 percent of Indonesia’s population lives in landslide-prone areas. That’s about 40 million people.

For perspective, 40 million is nearly twice the population of Australia and is still more than the entire population of Canada. Furthermore, Java is home to many of FMI’s partner churches.

In fact, FMI partners in this area are trying to assist landslide prevention by educating local farmers about sustainable farming practices. Trees are often clear-cut out of areas to make room for farmland. As the trees leave, so do their roots which were keeping the soil in place.

Indonesian flag. (Graphic courtesy of FMI)

When landslides do occur, Indonesia’s Christian community is there to help.

“After a landslide, obviously the Christian community wants to be known for being a help to their neighbors. So, the good thing is that the Christians are in these various areas and they’re already mobilized because they already live there,” Allen explains.

“They make up the rescue teams, they make up people who try and help the survivors in an aftermath. The Christians are right there in the thick of it.”
Helping After the Landslide
Indonesia’s Christians are being the tangible hands and feet of Jesus in their communities, thus opening doors to share the Gospel. Specifically, in east Java where the landslide occurred, FMI supports six church planters in the area.

However, these same church planters also need immediate financial support to propel them to serve, share the Gospel, and meet the needs of victims of the landslide. Would you consider giving to help FMI’s partners? To donate to FMI’s Overseas Partners funds, click here!

But, regardless of if donating is a possibility, please pray.

“Pray about these weather conditions. Pray that these churches would be able to educate the villagers about sustainable practices as well as to have the resources they need to help come alongside in very compassionate and tangible ways to help victims of these natural disasters,” Allen asks.

“In 1 John 3, we read that if anyone has material possession and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him. So FMI is looking for a flood of Christ followers, in whom the love of God truly resides, to offer a flood of support for the people of Indonesia.”