Leaving Homes Just to Survive

When the landslide hit Cileuksa in early 2020, many of the villagers’ houses were intact. However, they had to evacuate because their homes are located in the red zone, the landslide-prone area.

The view of Cipendawa evacuation site. (ACTNews/Yudha Hadisana)

ACTNews, BOGOR - The rain fell for the whole day and night. Uni was surprised to find her front yard was filled with mud, stone, and other debris. Despite feeling worried, Uni, who lives in Cieluksa Village in Bogor Regency, was quite grateful that the landslide did not actually hit her house.

"I thought the landslide only hit my front yard. I did not know that people had been running here and there. A villager even fainted. I told my neighbors to stay here, but they did not want to because they said my house is still vulnerable to landslides,” Uni said on Sunday (3/1).

The Uni’s house was intact, but she chose not to return home. The area where her house stands is a red zone that is prone to landslides. Therefore, Uni evacuated with her children to Cipandawa evacuation post.

"I did not bring anything but my children, my father’s papers as a war veteran, and the clothes on my back, "said Uni. Her husband collapsed from exhaustion when carrying his parents who suffered from stroke when they were moved from home to the evacuation site.

Ucih, another resident, also faced the same fate. Her house was not damaged by the landslide, but an electric pole in front of her house nearly fell down. The furniture inside her house was also filled with mud. However, due to being located in landslide-prone areas, she could not return to her home.

"If I can choose, of course I prefer to stay home. But I am afraid because the government has said that my house is in the red zone, and my mother is already old and frail. I don’t want to live alone. It's better to live in a tent," Ucih said.

The encampment is not a comfortable place to live. The tents are made of tarpaulin and bamboo poles Many of the evacuees depend solely on aid. There are still many of their needs that are yet to be fulfilled.

Both Uni and Ucih said the evacuees really need food. They rely on aid to fulfill their needs for food.

One of the beneficiaries of the Aksi Cepat Tanggap’s Friends of Indonesian Poor Families program. (ACTNews / Yudha Hadisana)

"Alhamdulillah, it was not so difficult, because we are greatly assisted by the volunteers. We have also received all kinds of basic supplies. We have no idea where the assistance comes from, but it is regularly distributed by the caretakers of the evacuation site. Sometimes the aid is distributed twice every ten days, or once every three days. It depends really on the donors, "Ucih explained. She was also very thankful for the rice aid from Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) through the Friends of Indonesian Families (SKPI) program.

ACT Bogor plans to provide further assistance to residents at Cipendawa Evacuation Post. In the near future, there would be distribution of school kits for children in Cileuksa village.

"In the near future there will also be distribution of school kits, including bags, shoes, uniforms, stationery, and others. We also plan to deploy a Humanity Food Truck to provide free meals to the evacuees," Khisnul said.

Two months after the disaster, evacuees in Cipandawa still live in difficult conditions. They live in tents made of tarpaulin and bamboo that get very hot during sunny days but cold and muddy when raining. []