Southern Baptists Respond to Powerful Indonesian Volcanic Eruption

By Margaret Colson

Within minutes of the powerful eruption of Mount Semeru in Indonesia on Dec. 4, Southern Baptists began working with international partners to respond to immediate needs, including the provision of food, water, tarps, hygiene and sanitation items.

Initial reports show that the eruption has caused at least 34 deaths, 169 injuries, 17 missing people, and 3,697 displaced. At least 5,205 people have been affected by the disaster. More casualties may be discovered as relief efforts in hard-to-reach areas continue.

At this time, no foreigners are allowed in the impacted area, the International Mission Board reported, so Send Relief is working with and through a local church in the area.

Send Relief, the global compassion ministry arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, has been assessing needs and is providing food, water, filters and tarps to the impacted areas, Bryant Wright, Send Relief president reported.

“Our hearts ache for the people affected by the eruption in Indonesia,” Wright said.

Due to ash contamination of regular water sources in the affected communities, Send Relief clay pot water filters from another area of Indonesia are being trucked to the towns and villages decimated by the eruption. The filters will provide clean, safe water in the eruption’s aftermath.

Wright is calling for prayer for those impacted by the disaster, for national partners who are responding to critical needs and for the ability of Send Relief to meet long-term needs in addition to emergency needs.

The IMB reports that the Indonesia population is estimated to be 275 million, with 2.5% evangelicals. The predominant religion of Indonesia is Muslim, with 221 million adherents. Indonesia, in the Asia-Pacific Rim, is home to about 667 people groups, with an estimated 116 of those groups described as unreached and 44 described as unengaged and unreached.

Send Relief is a collaborative partnership between Southern Baptists’ IMB and North American Mission Board to provide compassion ministry throughout the world, opening doors to share the gospel message.

Editor’s note: To read the full story published in the Baptist Paper, click here.

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Published December 9, 2021