ACTNews, LOMBOK UTARA – The life of earthquake survivors in Lombok is slowly getting back to normal. Some of the residents of the Integrated Community Shelters (ICS) in Gondang Village, North Lombok, have gone back to work. Some work on rice fields, some work in offices and schools. There are also those who have started clearing the site where their houses used to stand off the ruins.
ICS Coordinator, Pendi Fathurrahman explained that most of ICS residents have started clearing their houses off the rubbles. Some have even started rebuilding their destroyed houses.
“Those who have money have started rebuilding their houses. Those who still have insufficient money still live in these shelters,” Fathurrahman explained, Thursday (10/18).
He added that most of the residents stay in the ICS only when they need to rest. There is not much activity in the afternoon because many of them have started working.
This, according to Fathurrahman, is a good sign. It means that the residents of the ICS do not sit idly. They work normally, and this will help alleviate their trauma caused by the earthquake more than two months ago.
“Along the road, many of the locals have also started opening their shops, unlike few days after the disaster when almost all of the shops were closed,” said Fathurrahman.
Sapurah (39), an ICS resident, said that she was greatly helped by ACT’s temporary shelters. She was grateful, for there are still many earthquake survivors from her village who live in makeshift tents.
“We thank you so much. Our children no longer feel cold at night like when we were living in tents. We parents are happy if our children feel comfortable. Hopefully, my neighbors whose house were destroyed will get shelters too,” explained Sapurah, an ICS resident from Karang Pendagi Hamlet, Gondang Village, Gangga Sub-District.
Sapurah’s husband is a fisherman. He has started clearing off their house. She hopes that in few months, the rubbles will be cleared off and her family will be able to rebuild their houses although it may not be as good as it was.
“My husband has not started working because he is still too afraid to go to the sea. Alhamdulillah, thanks to ACT our basic needs are fulfilled. We can cook in the public kitchen,” said Sapurah.
When we met her on Thursday (10/18), Sapurah was going back to her house. He told us about the condition of her house which was located close to the beach. It was flattened to the ground. When the earthquake hit, her family and neighbors run away from the sea due to the tsunami warning.
This is why most of the villagers who live close to the sea have not started rebuilding their houses. “We are just clearing off the rubbles. My husband and I want to rebuild our house as soon as possible, but others are still afraid,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Branch Manager of ACT West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), Lalu Muhammad Alfian stated that, to date, ACT has built more than 1,000 shelters. This is still quite far from enough to fulfill the needs of the survivors. ACT will keep striving to provide adequate housing for the earthquake-affected victims.
“We build not only the ICS, but we also build family shelters where we involve the locals to participate to build their own shelters using the materials that we provided,” said Alfian.
The locals build their own shelters by themselves based on their own designs in accordance with the available materials. Most of the materials consist of wooden planks to construct the shelters’ framework. This will be extremely helpful for those who are willing to build their shelters as soon as possible.
Alfian emphasized that there are still many people in Lombok who still need shelters. He enjoins everyone to work together to rebuild Lombok. Although, at the moment, many are focusing to help the people of Palu who had been hit with bigger disasters, he stressed that he will continue assisting the people of Lombok until they are fully recovered.
“We will always be here with Lombok. Our humanitarian programs will continue. Alhamdulillah, ACT have various recovery programs in Lombok, from Waqf-based Shops, ACT Humanity Store, ICS, public facilities, Family Shelters and Knockdown Shelters,” said Alfian.
Alfian hoped that these programs will rebuild Lombok economy to help the disaster-hit people.