Earthquake Survivors: Everything is Not Fine Yet

Three years have passed, but for disaster survivors in Central Sulawesi, their conditions have not improved.

Corn farmers
Illustration. Corn farmers in Sigi. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, SIGI – The life of Abdul Rafik (49) hasn't changed since three years ago. He is one of the victims of the liquefaction disaster in Jono Oge Village, Sigi Biromaru District, Sigi Regency. For three years, Rafik also needed time to recover from the trauma.

To gain the spirit of life, Rafik spends his time farming corn and pepper. He and his family moved to his parent’s house in Karawana Village, Dolo District, about six kilometers from his old village. Liquefaction destroyed Rafik's old house.

Global Wakaf-ACT distributes clean water to one farmer named Abdul Rafik in Karawana Village, Sigi. (ACTNews)

“However, we cannot be farmers forever because it is hard to get water here,” said the man with three children to ACTNews, Tuesday (9/28/2021). According to Rafik, even though he has started a new life, the problems are never solved. In addition to Sigi's economy which has not improved after the disaster, the environmental conditions in Karawana Village are not suited for agriculture.

Bahtiar (69) also said about agricultural problems. Before the disaster, he was a successful farmer in his village, Potoya Village, Dolo District, Sigi. Bahtiar admits that now his life has turned 180 degrees. Currently, Bahtiar has to work hard to support his wife and two children who are still in school.

“I switched professions, from a rice farmer to a sweet corn farmer. My income is now uncertain. At harvest time, the price drops,” said Bahtiar. According to Bahtiar, planting sweet corn in Sigi Regency costs more. He was forced to rely on help from other people if the price of corn drastically dropped.

Bahtiar harvests sweet corn in Potoya Village, Dolo District, Sigi (ACTNews)

“I have to pay to get water. I take the water using a tool and need gasoline even though there is a well. As for gasoline, it's not free. If I do the calculations, I will suffer a loss,” he continued.

Bahtiar usually borrows money from moneylenders when it is almost harvesting season. He used the money to meet his daily needs. After harvesting, he used his income to pay off debts.

In the past three years, agriculture in Sigi has gotten worse. Farmers in Sigi often experience crop failure because of bad weather, such as a prolonged drought. According to Bahtiar, the current situation is worse than an earthquake. "Many are tormented and cannot even survive," he said.[]