Indonesia: Mentawai earthquake and tsunami response

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

  • ID_2011-04_11_Arshinta_00.jpgPsychosocial health care. A workshop run by ACT member YEU to help people talk through what triggers trauma-related problems.
  • ID_2011-04_11_Arshinta_01.jpgA 24 year old project officer, Habibi, shows how to do proper hand washing to children at a relocation area in Taikako village. This is part of ACT member YEU's work with people displaced by the tsunami in Mentawai.
  • ID_2011-04_11_Arshinta_02.jpgA boy benefits from the clean water supply in South Pagai provided by ACT member CWS. This is part of the work being done by ACT members in response to the tsunami in Mentawai.
  • ID_2011-04_11_Arshinta_03.jpgDoor-to-door trauma mapping with tsunami survivor who lost her children, husband and parents. This is part of the response by ACT members to the tsunami in Mentawai.
  • ID_2011-04_11_Arshinta_04.jpgIawan, a field doctor from ACT member YEU, trains local paramedics in hemathology to improve health services in Mantawai. This work is part of the ACT response to the tsunami in Mentawai.
  • ID_2011-04_11_Arshinta_05.jpgAs part of accountability processes YEU staff introduce ACT Alliance to community members in Mentawai.
  • ID_2011-04_11_Arshinta_06.jpgA joint meeting between ACT Alliance and local partner GKPM in Mentawai, both are working together on response to the Mentwawai tsunami.
  • ID_2011-04_11_Arshinta_07.jpgSari Mutia Timur, a field doctor from YEU provides medical services to elderly patients in a relocation centre in Mentawai. ACT member YEU is working with people who are affected by the tsunami in Mentawai.
  • ID_2011-04_11_Arshinta_08.jpgACT member YEU works on mapping vulnerability with community members and giving disaster preparedness training in case of a future emergency.
  • ID_2011-04_11_Arshinta_09.jpgA doctor from ACT member YEU examines a displaced child in a centre for people being relocated in Mentawai.

Indonesian families and villages in the remote Mentawai Islands continue to face massive upheaval since last year’s earthquake and tsunami.

Entire villages have been moved inland, forcing residents to re-think work, income, and social relations.

Among the problems that local authorities are trying to address are the lack of independence of widows in the new areas, providing legal assistance to prevent human trafficking, and programmes to help residents adjust.

One tsunami-hit town is not covered by the government’s rehabilitation scheme. Residents are forced to stay in emergency shelter and badly need more permanent housing.

The location of the new villages, far from the sea and former fields, has left people dependent on help from the governments or NGOs. Virtually no work opportunities exist.

ACT members in north and south Pagai have provided lifesaving health care, hygiene kits, and have trained health workers in haematology examination. First aid training and psychosocial care have rounded off the health package provided by ACT.

The top five diseases in one village are gastritis, musculoskeletal diseases, skin disease, low appetite and hypertension, while in another they are upper respiratory tract infection, muscle pain, gastritis, hypertension, and low appetite.

Water supplies continue to be prone to contamination from soap and other chemicals, open defecation, and turbidity from rain storms. People are highly dependent on rain water or river water which is located far from their homes. Women go to the river to wash clothes or bathe, while on the other side of the river children and women gather water for cooking.

ACT has provided clean water to 60 sites on the islands, installed a traditional water filtration system, and will build water facilities and latrines and in two villages. Trucking of water was suspended in one area due to the poor condition of the roads. An effort to deliver construction materials for a school being built by ACT was abandoned because roads had deteriorated. Workers had to instead carry materials to the site.

Communication between villages is often impossible. In a medical emergency or natural disaster, or if the water truck is immobilised, villages have no way of letting neighbours know. Technology communication service is needed, be it radio, a telephone tower, broadband or even morse code.

Children scared of the sea and bad memories of the tsunami are regaining their innocence with singing, drawing, origami, and by watching puppet shows, all ACT-run programmes. Later, running races will be held, another means of improving confidence in the lives of the Mentawai's little ones.

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