A Week After the Earthquake, Many Survivors Still Stay in Camps

Many earthquake survivors in West Sulawesi have to stay in tarp tents with only small thin mattresses to sleep on. Many of their needs haven’t been properly met. A week after the earthquake, many of them are still afraid to go home.

A Week After the Earthquake, Many Survivors Still Stay in Camps' photo
An evacuation camp set up in the front camp set up in the front yard of SDN No. 5 Mamuju, Saturday (1/23/2021). A week after the earthquake, evacuees are still staying in the camps. They are still afraid to return home. (ACTNews / Eko Ramdani)

ACTNews, MAMUJU - It was getting dark when Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) delivered aid packages to evacuees in Labuan Rano Village, West Tappalang District, Mamuju Regency, Thursday (1/21/2021). There are dozens of earthquake survivor families living in tarpaulin tents without proper supplies. These evacuees previously lived near the coast. They fear aftershocks that can lead to a tsunami.

A week after the earthquake, they haven’t even visited their houses that were damaged by the earthquake. They are too afraid because the aftershocks still occur and their houses are still inhabitable.  One of the evacuees living in these tents was Rusni, a woman who is pregnant with her sixth child. For her, this camp is the safest place although living there is not actually comfortable.  

"Until now, I haven’t visited my house. I am afraid to go there,” she said, Thursday (21/1/2021).

In the refugee camp, Rusni lives with her family. The tarpaulin tent often gets leaky when it rains. There’s only a small, thin mattress for the family to sleep on. It is humid and cold inside. With no electricity, they have to spend every night in darkness.

Rusni’s family heavily depends on humanitarian aid for food. Unfortunately, it doesn’t reach the camp very often. Often times, they have nothing to eat but noodles and rice, something that is not quite healthy to be eaten on a daily basis. Located far from the Mamuju-Majene road, Rusni and other evacuees staying in the interior of West Tappalang don’t receive much attention.

Another evacuee living in a camp was Sumtik. Her tent was located on General M. Yusuf Shooting Range on Jalan Padang Baka, Kelurahan Rimuku, Mamuju. She, too, lives in a dire condition. Her family lives in a thin tarp tent in which there’s only a thin mattress to sleep on.

MRI volunteers distribute humanitarian aid to residents affected by the earthquake in North Botteng, Simboro, Mamuju, Friday (1/22/2021). This area was one of the severely affected when the earthquake happened. (ACTNews / Eko Ramdani)

ACT distributes humanitarian aid

Since the day of the earthquake, Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) has dispatched its volunteers to assist the earthquake victims, from rescuing those trapped in the ruins to distributing humanitarian aid. Lukman Solehudin, Coordinator of ACT's Central Humanitarian Post in Mamuju said that the condition in Mamuju was currently improving after the earthquake. However, the earthquake survivors are still feeling deep sorrow and loss. For this reason, ACT continues to assist these evacuees although the situation in the disaster-hit areas is improving.

"Masyarakat Relawan Indonesia volunteers from various regions of Indonesia have been dispatched to disaster-hit areas to assist the earthquake victims in West Sulawesi. We prioritize areas that are rarely reached by aid distribution, "he explained, Saturday (1/23/2021).

ACT still opens opportunities for the donors to provide their best assistance to the people of West Sulawesi. By the end of January, the Humanitarian Ship for West Sulawesi is slated so sail to carry aid packages to the people of West Sulawesi to further help them during the post-disaster recovery period. []