By Amber Dutton
Islamic Relief Worldwide and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are joining forces to provide urgently needed medical supplies to earthquake victims in Indonesia.
“More than eight semi-truckloads of critical medical items from the church”s welfare and humanitarian storehouses in Salt Lake City will be flown to Indonesia in a 747 cargo jet provided by Islamic Relief Worldwide,” said church representatives in a press release.
The plane was scheduled to depart Salt Lake City International Airport on Tuesday and arrive in Indonesia by late Wednesday.
“I was out there when they were loading it all in and it is impressive – they completely filled the 747. It is probably only a drop in the bucket of what they needed, but we sent the items they specifically asked for,” said Scott Trotter, spokesperson for the church.
Some of the requested items include first aid supplies, materials for making casts to set broken limbs, walkers, canes, crutches, warm weather clothing for hospital patients and hygiene kits.
Arrangements were made in close coordination with Indonesian officials so that upon arrival, the materials would be transported and distributed immediately to those in need.
The 6.3-magnitude quake struck the Indian Ocean coast near Yogyakarta Saturday, killing thousands and leaving tens of thousands injured and homeless. Indonesian officials have described the quake as one of the worst in the country”s history.
The church reported all missionaries are safe and there have not been any member casualties, though a few people sustained minor injuries. Also, there are no reports of any damages to church buildings.
While supplies are on the way, the church”s local leaders and members in Indonesia have mobilized to respond to the government”s call for aid. Within hours of the quake, they had prepared and served over 2,000 meals to the devastated victims and hygiene kits were assembled and distributed. The members also combined resources to purchase cots, mattresses and blankets to donate to an orthopedic hospital where hundreds were treated.
These efforts are the latest in the church”s continued efforts to work with various organizations to provide relief for disaster-stricken areas and form lasting bonds with people around the world.
“I was able to meet some of the Islamic leaders that were there and there is an immediate bond of friendship that is created when working on a project like this,” Trotter said.