Aid for 460 families after Lombok Earthquakes

The aftermath of the earthquakes that shook Lombok in August are still visible. With the help of our partner organization Perkumpulan Panca Karsa we supported 460 families with relief packages.

Life in Sambik Bangkol is at a stand-still. The impacts of the earthquakes were especially severe in the village of 8,000 inhabitants, as a fault runs directly underneath. 90 percent of the buildings are heavily damaged or lying completely in ruins. Aside from family homes, also schools, health and religious buildings were destroyed.

When we visited other villages, our fears were confirmed: the situation is similarly tragic in the whole region of North Lombok. With 466 deceased and more than 1.000 injured, North Lombok was most affected by the earthquakes. About 12.000 buildings collapsed, leaving 80 percent of the region’s population homeless.

Most of the affected population have been residing in tents hastily put together in camps, struggling to meet their basic needs. There are no sanitation facilities in these makeshift camps and the fear of the approaching rainy season is growing, since the tents are made of light materials and will not provide enough protection from the rain and strong winds.

For Sambik Bangkol, one of the biggest issues is water supply, due to kilometers of damaged pipes. Apart from having to depend on water rations for drinking water and household use, it has been challenging for the community as agriculture is at a halt due to lack of irrigation. In addition, some farmlands had to give way to camps, so that the survivors can be in a safe distance from their damaged homes that might still collapse. In this community that mostly relies on farming, the paralyzed agriculture results in a lack of both food and income. Those who work in the formal sector are also unable to work as their offices and businesses were destroyed by the earthquakes. Under these circumstances the affected population are strongly dependent on assistance the past weeks and, most likely, in the coming days.

Relief packages for 400 families

In partnership with Perkumpulan Panca Karsa (PPK), AWO International has reached 460 families (about 2,300 individuals) in the villages of Sambik Bangkol, Tegal Maja, and Medane with most needed emergency needs of food, hygiene kits and blankets. Priority was given to the most vulnerable families – female-headed households, those with persons with disabilities (PWDs), orphans, and elderly.

These three villages were heavily affected by the earthquakes and are also covered by a development project focused on women and migration being implemented by PPK and AWO International.

Need for humanitarian help remains high

The government has laid out a plan that hopes to complete rehabilitation in six months, while hopeful for this, survivors express that they think it will take much longer for them to go back to their normal life.

Little by little, people are starting to rebuild their lives. Visiting the damaged areas, we encounter homeowners trying to pick out furniture that survived the earthquakes and materials that can still be used to build temporary homes. In some communities, women have come together and initiated informal classes for children to ensure learning as schools remain ruins. However, speaking to many of the survivors, the psychological impact of the earthquakes they have experienced runs deeper than any material loss. Many still experience fear from the aftershocks, and despair about their situation.

Fitri, a resident of Sambik Bangkol, tells us, “It’s like we lost our dreams and we are still traumatized.” When the situation improves, she wishes to rebuild her house and small store, and hopes for her business to operate like before. The 31-year-old woman volunteers as the secretary of Susah Senang, a community-based organization supported by our partner organization PPK.

Sriatun, 34, also from Sambik Bangkol shares, “There are light and easy moments – I find strength from my friends, and we try not to think about how hard the situation is. We just try to live with it from day to day.”

We were able to supply around 2,300 inhabitants of the villages Sambik Bangkol, Tegal Maja and Medane with most needed emergency needs of food, hygiene kits and blankets (Foto: AWO International).