All pictures by Ejodia Kakoensi
Two weeks after the severe earthquake and subsequent tsunami of September 28 on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, the emergency relief measures of Johanniter International Assistance are underway. A local Johanniter coordinator is on-site to organise the distribution of packages together with a local partner organisation. 67,000 houses are considered damaged or destroyed, more than 82,000 people have fled the destruction.
The relief efforts of our German JOIN member in Sulawesi have commenced. Johanniter coordinator Ejodia Kakoensi supports the transport and distribution of aid packages to the affected people in the city of Palu. She works directly with our local partner organisation PERUATI, which implements the distributions. Relief supplies such as underwear, diapers and sanitary products are designed to improve the personal hygiene of those who often go unnoticed in disasters: the elderly. The packages, which were distributed on Monday the 8th, held additional dry biscuits for toddlers. Church-communities in West-Java collected the relief supplies, while Johanniter financed and organised the transport.
Last Tuesday, additional relief shipments arrived in Palu via seaway. Noodles, rice, drinking water and hygiene utensils were packed on Wednesday and distributed to 204 residents on the West Coast.
The relief measure shows how local initiatives and structures can be supported quickly and easily" says Claudia Zehl, Project Coordinator of Johanniter International Assistance.
This is all the more important since -according to the Indonesian Foreign Ministry- international and foreign Civil Society Organisations are not allowed to work in the disaster area. All measures are to be implemented primarily by local and national organisations.
Meanwhile, the situation on the ground is only improving slowly.
"We visited some villages that were severely damaged and where many families had to stay in self-built shelters," says Ejodia Kakoensi. "According to reports from the affected, the quantities of food and clean water are limited."
However, the power grid was repaired in many affected villages.
Protection against future disasters
In the coming weeks, in addition to the ongoing emergency aid, disaster prevention, in particular, will be in focus. In training courses, communities are to analyse the dangers and reduce their vulnerability in the future. "We have worked successfully in this area in other locations in Indonesia and plan to apply this approach in Sulawesi as well," says Claudia Zehl. She stresses the importance of overcoming the traumatic experiences of those affected. "Experiences after the earthquakes in Nepal or Haiti have shown that the psychological trauma does not unfold until many months afterwards, and we have to prepare for that."