JAKARTA, Indonesia In a press conference held here May 3, the Indonesian minister of foreign affairs expressed appreciation to the Church for significant contributions of food, clothing and hygiene kits donated to assist some 100,000 East Timorese refugees who fled the recent conflict in their homeland.
The minister of foreign affairs, Alwi Shihab, met with Elder H. Bryan Richards of the Seventy and counselor in the Asia Area presidency, and President Subandriyo of the Indonesia Jakarta Mission.
The Church is purchasing local rice, and enough supplies for 20,000 hygiene kits. The kits will be assembled by Church members in Jakarta, government employees of the Indonesian foreign affairs offices, and local volunteers from the Bina Bingsa Foundation. The Bina Bingsa Foundation is also distributing the rice purchased by the Church. In addition, eight containers of clothing are being shipped from Salt Lake City. A missionary couple, Elder Terry and Sister Danne Morris of Flagstaff, Ariz., will assist with distribution of supplies.
The decision to provide assistance for the refugees was made following a visit to the makeshift camps in West Timor by Garry Flake, director of LDS Humanitarian Services.
"People are doing the best they can in refugee camps, but help is urgently needed," said Brother Flake. "These homeless families are in need of food, clothing and personal hygiene supplies."
The supplies will help the uprooted families re-establish some routine and order to their lives, he said.