The Indonesian island of Sulawesi was impacted by a monstrous earthquake and tsunami on Friday, September 28. The magnitude 7.5 quake cut off power to the tsunami alert system, leaving residents totally without warning when the resulting 20-foot-high tsunami broke upon the island.
Thousands have lost their homes, and more than 840 lost their lives. The death toll is expected to rise sharply, as rescuers struggle to search for hundreds of missing in the hardest-hit areas. It is reported that cries for help could be heard from under a hotel in the city of Palu until Sunday night. Approximately 1,200 inmates escaped from three prisons across Sulawesi. Area hospitals are overwhelmed.
The Indonesia Assemblies of God, AGWM, and Convoy of Hope have joined hands in their swift response to this overwhelming tragedy. AGWM Advancement Director Randy Hurst provides the following information:
- The Indonesia AG has 31 churches in Central Sulawesi. Four churches we know of are completely destroyed, four have minor damage, and the status of 23 remains unknown.
- The Indonesia AG has already sent the first truckload of relief supplies to affected communities, and it is expected to arrive in Palu around 2 a.m.
- Tragically, 180 Christian students were having a retreat at a school which was hit badly by the tsunami, and 100 are still unaccounted for—including the daughter of an Assemblies of God pastor. Please pray for the family of the missing girl and for the many others affected by this major disaster.
- The AG missionary in Indonesia who is closest to the disaster will attempt an overland 18-hour trip to reach the affected area.
- A team from Convoy of Hope will arrive in Indonesia on Thursday to help with assessment of needs.
- The government is restricting access to the area, even by humanitarian organizations. Because we already have people on the ground, we are able to minister to fellow believers in the AG churches. As well, through those churches, desperately needy people will be served in surrounding communities.
“I urgently appeal to the churches of the U.S. Assemblies of God and anyone who gets these communications to fervently pray for the Indonesia Assemblies of God, our missionaries serving there, and for the Convoy personnel who are leaving shortly to help with assessment,” says AGWM Executive Director Greg Mundis. “All these need God's guidance and strength in these tragic circumstances.”