Edmonton Indonesian community looks to help earthquake victims
Number of dead continues to rise after 6.9 magnitude quake hit island of Lombok on Sunday
As rescuers in Indonesia search for survivors of a pair of deadly earthquakes, Edmonton's small Indonesian community is searching for ways to support the relief effort.
A 6.9-magnitude earthquake hit the Indonesian island of Lombok on Sunday, killing at least 98 people just a week after another quake on the island took more than a dozen lives.
Muh Rosidi immigrated to Edmonton from the island two years ago. He said his family is safe but continues to live with the threat of aftershocks.
"Of course they are all sad," he said through a translator. "They are afraid it might happen again."
The Indonesian community association expects to use some of its proceeds from the Edmonton Heritage Festival to support the earthquake relief effort.
The proceeds from crafts and rendang, a savoury meat dish, sold at the Indonesian pavilion will go toward supporting thousands of people displaced by the earthquake.
"Hopefully, maybe if you hear about that tragedy, maybe you can also help us," said Umi Rankuti, association vice-president.
Indonesian officials said the death toll is expected to rise as they receive more information about collapsed and badly damaged buildings, especially near the earthquake's epicentre in the northern part of the island.
"Hearing about lots of people dying because of this tragedy is very sad," Rankuti said. "We hope the victims will have some help and relief over there right away."
The shocks Sunday followed a 6.4 -magnitude earthquake on July 29, leaving emergency crews to deal with the fallout of two massive disasters just seven days apart.
More than 20,000 people have reportedly been displaced from their homes.
Septa Rendra, originally from East Java, a short flight from Lombok, said he was thinking of the victims while he volunteered at the Indonesian pavilion on Monday.
"We are very sad," he said. "We're hoping to hear there will be no earthquake again."
The country sits on the Ring of Fire, a major area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean where most of the world's earthquakes occur.
The relatively small Indonesian community in Edmonton, 825 people according to recent census data, has raised emergency funds for earthquakes in the past, Rendra said.
They're hoping even a small contribution will go a long way to offer relief for earthquake victims thousands of kilometres away.