Death toll mounts in Indonesia after volcano collapse
A TSUNAMI in Indonesia on 22 December, triggered by a collapsing volcano, is the third natural disaster to have struck the nation in six months, writes Rebecca Paveley. More than 400 people were killed and 7000 injured along the coastlines of Java and Sumatra. An estimated 40,000 people have been left homeless. Last year, earthquakes destroyed parts of the island of Lombok (News, 10 August 2018), and an earthquake and tsunami killed more than 2000 people on a remote part of Sulawesi island in September (News, 5 October 2018). Tearfund’s Asia humanitarian-response manager, Sanjeev Bhanjar, said that, in some parts of Sulawesi, 90 per cent of buildings had collapsed: “It will take two to three years to rebuild communities.”
Israeli President offers reassurance to churches
THE President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, said last week that the State of Israel had “no intention of harming the property rights of the Churches or their ability to realise their assets to support their activities”. The intervention came after another move to introduce legislation that would make it possible for the State to confiscate church land: the “Tenants Right Law” (News, 2 March 2018). At a New Year reception in Jerusalem the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem, thanked the President, and Prime Minister Netanyahu, for their commitment to withdrawing the Bill and “to preserv[ing] the unique multi-religious tapestry of our beloved Jerusalem”.
Bomb detonated outside church in Athens
A BOMB detonated outside St Dionysios, an Orthodox church in Athens, just before a service on Thursday of last week, wounded a police officer and a civilian. Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which happened without warning. “Why this attack at a time when people would gather at the church?” a priest at the church told reporters. “Why are they attacking the love of Christ, what are they trying to say?”