Bekasi Fire Survivor’s Cry During Food Distribution at Scavenger Settlement

The fire quickly spread and burned the settlement whose majority of population work as scavengers and scrap collectors in in Duren Jaya, East Bekasi. The survivors lost almost everything because they didn't have time to save their belongings.

bekasi fire site
A child looks for what remains after the fire that destroyed the scavenger settlement. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, BEKASI – Otong, a mother of four children burst into tears not long after receiving a meal package from Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) Bekasi during the Free Meal Operation, at an evacuation site for the victims of the fire in Duren Jaya of Bekasi City. She couldn't help but cry when she told ACT Bekasi about the fire that broke out on Saturday (7/31).

"It was at 7 p.m. and I had just cleaned up my child after he pooped. Suddenly, someone shouted, 'fire!' I immediately ran to safety with my child. I didn't have time to save my belongings. The important thing was that my child is safe," Otong said while wiping her tears.

Otong and her husband have been living in a scavenger settlement on Jalan Prof. M. Yamin of Bekasi City for more than two years. Their youngest child is two weeks old, and the couple work collecting scraps and used goods.

Unluckily, that night, the fire quickly spread and devoured their hut and their belongings in it. “All that's left is the cart and the clothes I'm wearing. I don't have time to save anything except my children. Earlier, my son was also crying looking for his bicycle, O Allah," bemoaned Otong.

The people living in this settlement mostly work as scavengers and collectors of scraps and used goods. There is no definite information on when the scavenger settlement was set up. When ACT Bekasi came to the fire site, Otong had just finished looking for scraps to sell. “Earlier, I received IDR 100,000 after scavenging for scraps. Alhamdulillah, it’s enough to buy snacks for my children. Alhamdulillah for the assistance,” she added.

There were hundreds of other people who received food aid from ACT and MRI Bekasi’s Free Food Operation on Sunday (8/1/2021). In addition to the meal packages provided by ACT Bekasi’s partners namely Sederhana Restaurant in Bekasi Town Square and Dapoer Pamenan, the team also distributed Waqf Rice, Waqf Drinking Water, and some other household items.

Handover of food aid to the Head of RW 05 Duren Jaya, East Bekasi, Bekasi City for fire survivors. (ACTNews)

“Alhamdulillah, this time the team distributed food aid to our brothers and sisters who are dealing with hardship in Duren Jaya. We hope that it will be useful because, as we know, currently we are in a difficult condition due to the pandemic. May Allah strengthen us all," said ACT Bekasi Branch Manager Rizky Renanda.

The food distribution continued the next day with the Humanity Food Truck distributing meal packages to evacuees and residents around the fire site. Rizky thanked the donors and invited more people to contribute to helping the needy across various points in Bekasi.

“There are still many of our brothers and sisters in Bekasi who need our support, especially in this difficult time. For this reason, we invite all Bekasi residents to send their best assistance through alms through Indonesia Dermawan," he concluded. []