Habitat Supports Two Communities Affected By Mentawai Tsuanmi And Merapi Eruption

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At First Anniversary, Habitat for Humanity Indonesia Reflects On Disaster Response Activity

SINGAPORE, 25 October 2011: One year ago, Indonesia was hit by both a volcanic eruption and tsunami within ten hours. Habitat for Humanity Indonesia has been working in two communities to support some of those affected.

Mentawai, a chain of small islands, bore the brunt of a localized tsunami, caused by a 7.7 magnitude earthquake off the western coast of Indonesia’s largest island, Sumatra. The tsunami wave swept 600 meters inland, killing more than 400 people and displacing 20,000 residents.

Mr. Rasmi, 31, one of the inhabitants of the cut-off hamlet of Gobik Sibau, lost both his wife and two children to the three-meter high tsunami wave. He now lives with his only daughter, 9-year-old Mira, in a home built with support from Habitat for Humanity.

In addition to building houses, whether transitional shelters after the disaster or permanent homes, Habitat for Humanity Indonesia has worked with Gobik Sibau’s community to build an evacuation building and a route to it. The community has also received training on how to limit the impact of disasters and what to do when disaster strikes. Habitat for Humanity worked with partner organizations to develop clean water and sanitation facilities and improve livelihood opportunities in Gobik Sibau.

More than 1,300 kilometers away, in Krinjing village, situated in the foothills of Mount Merapi, Indonesia’s most active volcano, Habitat for Humanity has been working with seven families who lost their homes to volcanic lava flow a year ago.

Merapi exploded just about seven hours before Mentawai was struck by the tsunami, in an unrelated event. The Merapi explosion left more than 300 people dead and displaced more than 300,000 people.