Abdul Latif: Surviving the Tsunami and Helping Volunteers to Reach Beneficiaries

Abdul Latif: Surviving the Tsunami and Helping Volunteers to Reach Beneficiaries

ACTNews, DONGGALA – His name was Abdul Latif. The man who hails from Wani Dua Village, Tana Tovea Sub-District, Donggala has witnessed how the earthquake and tsunami severely devastated several regions in Central Sulawesi in late September. The massive tsunami swept everything along the coast of Palu and Donggala after the magnitude 7.4 earthquake. Abdul was also hit by the massive tsunami.

The 27-year-old Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) volunteer was inside his house in the disastrous afternoon. The earthquake destroyed Latif’s house. The wall at the back of his house collapsed, burying everything underneath it. He was trapped inside the ruins of his house although he was quite lucky not to be hit by the collapsing walls. He heard the rumbling sound of the waves that had hit the city.

“Shortly afterwards, the water had already reached my house. It happened very quickly after the earthquake. The wave carried sand and other materials. I was half-conscious as the big wave was carrying me,” said Latif.

Near 7 p.m., the wave slowly pulled back to the sea. Abdul’s body was slowly visible. He was found near the beach around Senja market, 50 meters away from Wani Harbor where the massive Sabuk Nusantara ship was stranded after being carried by the wave.

Weakened, Latif tried to find a safe place. In total darkness, he walked for 4 kilometers to the higher area. “It was pitch dark. There was no running electricity for a few days after the earthquake,” said Latif.

He met his family on the hill. They were all safe, but he also received news about his fiancée’s death. She was killed by the tsunami. “I vomited blood, then the doctor in Undata Hospital had me examined. He said, I swallowed too much mixture of sea water and sand. My condition was not too bad,” he explained.

Though he was also a victim, he decided to help and not to sit idly in trauma. He tried to help others by being a volunteer. With his knowledge of Donggala area and its surroundings, Latif helped the volunteers that came from outside Central Sulawesi to deliver aid to remote areas.

“I understand very well the area of Donggala. There are some locations that are not often reached by humanitarian aid, such as Sibado and Sisere near Wani, and Alindau Dusun III Village near Sindue Tobata that had not been reached by humanitarian aid (by mid-November). I escorted the volunteers from outside Central Sulawesi to these areas, showing them the ways to reach people in need.

To this day, Abdul spends some of his time to volunteer with Masyarakat  Relawan Indonesia (MRI) – ACT in Wani, Donggala. No matter how minuscule is his contributions in humanitarian actions, Abdul was sure that he could at least ease the hardship of his fellow disaster victims. []



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