Tents bring Indonesia quake survivors out of the rain
DONGGALA, Indonesia – The day after a devastating earthquake flattened their home, Bampek and his family built a makeshift tent on empty land with old plastic sheeting.
“Sometimes, when it rained hard, the water would come from every direction,” he says,although now the family’s desperate plight has improved.
The 45-year-old, his wife Vemy and their eight children are among hundreds of families who lost homes when earthquake and tsunami struck Sulawesi on 28 September, who are now safe and dry.
In the past week, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, delivered 2,054 emergency tents for the worst affected, with national and local Indonesian partners setting them up ready for those most affected to move in. Further aid, including additional tents, sleeping mats, mosquito nets and solar lamps, is on its way.
“I’m glad that the tent now is fully covered."
“I’m glad that the tent now is fully covered,” says Vemy, 41, visibly relieved as she inspects their new shelter. “The separators inside the tent also allow me and the girls to change our clothes privately.”
The tents will provide shelter to around 10,000 people in greatest need. They have been distributed by the authorities and UNHCR’s partners, the Indonesian Red Cross, Yayasan Kemanusiaan Muslim Indonesia and Wahana Visi Indonesia.
Among the recipients is Titin, 34, who was left homeless after the quake flattened her house. “I can’t live there anymore,” she says, sadly. “But I thank UNHCR for the tents that you are providing. I don’t know where I’d live now if it weren’t here in your tent.”
According to the Indonesia National Agency for Disaster Management, the quake and subsequent tsunami damaged around 68,000 houses, displacing 200,000 and killing some 2,000.
UNHCR staff described the effects of the earthquake and tsunami as “beyond imagination” and “devastating.”
Coastal communities were destroyed by a tsunami, while inland villages were struck by liquefaction as black mud rose up to five meters and swallowed buildings.
UNHCR is working hard to support partners and the Indonesian government to meet the growing humanitarian needs. As of today, some 2,000 of UNHCR’s emergency family tents and 12,400 plastic sheeting have been airlifted to Central Sulawesi since last week.