The Indonesian paradise island of Lombok has been shaken by a third big earthquake in little more than a week as the official death toll from the most powerful of the quakes topped 400. Thousands of homes were damaged or completely destroyed in Sunday's quake and more than 150,000 people are homeless. The earlier earthquakes also left cracks in walls and roofs, making the weakened buildings susceptible to collapse.
In Selad village (West Lombok) out of 277 houses 137 have been so badly damaged they can’t be lived in. People that have fled their homes are sleeping in 2 camps: 95 families are sleeping in the grounds of a school and 50 families in the other camp
On 7 August, a UK-based aid organization Muslim Aid provided to this village tarpaulins (10), mats 50), blankets (50), nappies (4), bottled water (4), instant noodles (20), rice (4 bags) and tampons.
Muslim Aid ground team spoke to Inq Sone one of the older ladies sitting on mats under the tarpaulin amongst the many women and children. Inq is a deaf, 60 years old has lived in the village all her life. Her home was once a pretty purple house sitting under the palms, now it has been demolished.
She told them “At the time of the earthquake I was watching television, suddenly the house shook. I ran out of the house. My house was almost completely destroyed. I have slept outside for 5 nights now. It’s cold sleeping outside, we need blankets…..I am frightened to return to my house, I don’t know when my house will be repaired. I’m frightened for the future.” she said sadly.
Sufiyanti Ira (lady with long blackhair and baby) also living under the tarpaulin with her baby
“I ran for my life with the baby. I felt so anxious. My home has been completely demolished”.
Muslim Aid is giving nappies to mothers like Sufriyanti.
In another village Kerujuk (North Lombok) they met Irwan.
Irwan is married with one daughter and has been a Muslim Aid volunteer for one year and in his work is building for eco-tourism in the village.
“I was trained by Muslim Aid how to rescue people and about global warming and the environment. I have created a book about global warming for the Imam of this village so that he can talk to the community about it after prayers."
“On the night of the earthquake I was at home with my family, after visiting another village. My first thought was to look after my wife and daughter; I told them to crouch on the floor and I stood and put my arms over them. We didn’t run but when the shaking slowed down I took my family outside.
“After checking if all the families were safe I tried to contact Muslim Aid. To see what help was available. I tried to keep the community calm and told them not to worry. Then I told them to build tents from existing materials, while we waited for help.
“Within 24 hours Muslim Aid had come with tarpaulin, mats, rope, rice, mie noodles, other food to cook.
“It’s quite hard to think forwards because all the families are impacted and 99% of houses are damaged and it will take time to rebuild. Some may look ok from the outside but inside they are broken. Now we are worried we can’t use public buildings like the mosques and the toilets, but we have built two temporary latrines. The priority is to build more temporary latrines and then permanent ones.
“People are traumatised. They have no spirit at the moment as they are still thinking about the last earthquake yesterday…we have had three massive earthquakes now. People are very frightened as there have been landslides near the village too. They are frightened of rain – if it comes there is nowhere to hide. They are also afraid that if another quake comes that the land will move. I can’t imagine a day when we will be back to normal.”
Muslim Aid staff were already on the ground when the first earthquake struck and able to respond immediately to help those affected. Some of the team were by the epicentre when the second earthquake struck. And many of them were in the office when the third earthquake struck causing them to run out fast.
Initially Muslim Aid has been supplying emergency food, including baby food, tarpaulin and warm blankets to help provide temporary shelter, clothing, hygiene packs (with shampoo, toothpaste, soap), nappies and sanitary towels, currently targeting 1,600 households mostly in remote villages and the hardest hit areas.
Muslim Aid’s team is working alongside co-ordinating organisations and is continuing to assess people’s needs. Muslim Aid is mobilising existing trained local volunteers to help with their response work. Some of the original team have had to return to Mataram to search for their own family and friends.
This article is published under a collaboration between Seasia and Muslim Aid UK