Tzu Chi in joint effort to build 3,000 houses

PETALING JAYA: The Indonesia Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation, the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) and Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas Group have jointly contributed towards the humanitarian effort for Indonesia's quake-hit Sulawesi and Western Southeastern islands.

On Sept 28, a massive earthquake of 7.7 magnitude shook Palu and Donggala, Central Sulawesi causing a three-metre-high tsunami.

The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) of Indonesia has reported that the death toll from the disaster had risen to 1,763, with about 5,000 others still missing.

Earlier, two earthquakes on July 29 and Aug 6 claimed the lives of more than 160 people on Lombok island.

The contribution was made in conjunction with the 80th anniversary celebration of the Sinar Mas Group, via its Eka Tjipta Foundation (ETF).

Sinar Mas board member Franky O. Widjaja said: “This initiative is to help the community that was hit by natural disasters. Sinar Mas' growth and prosperity are all due to the community and its role.”

Widjaja, representing the Indonesia Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation, spoke to reporters after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with TNI's Commander Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto on the humanitarian contribution for post-disaster restoration.

Sinar Mas managing director G. Sulistiyanto, who also co-signed the MoU as representative of the Eka Tjipta Foundation, said as the first steps towards the humanitarian effort, Sinar Mas via the ETF, together with the Indonesia Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation and TNI plan to develop housing and public infrastructure for the communities of the two quake-hit regions.

No less than 3,000 houses will be built through the joint effort, with Indonesia Tzu Chi, ETF and also an Indonesian company from the food industry, Indofood, contributing 1,000 houses each.

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Meanwhile, Mercy Malaysia has started the construction of temporary shelters and communal toilets for the affected communities in Palu.

Urgent funds are needed to help the people affected, and every bit will make a difference.

As of Oct 15, donations collected are at RM599,430.23, with RM309,413.92 spent on relief efforts to date.

Contributions can be made to MERCY Humanitarian Fund (MBB 5621 7950 4126) or MERCY Malaysia (CIMB 8000-7929-08) or through www.mercy.org.my. All contributions are tax-exempted.