Immediate Aid Needed to Assist Lembata Children Survivor in the Seroja Tropical Cyclone Disaster


A series of disasters caused by the cyclone Seroja, which ranged from flash flood to landslide, swept the East Nusa Tenggara Province (NTT), Indonesia, on Saturday (3/4). Thousands of lives, including children's, as well as infrastructures in Lembata regency are greatly affected by this disaster.

Yayasan Plan International Indonesia (Plan Indonesia) which has been working in Lembata since 2006 found that at least 2,227 out approximately 10,000 sponsored children (1,186 girls and 1,041 boys) and their families are affected by these series of disasters. Plan Indonesia team are also in deep condolence as one of our sponsored children passed away in the disaster and nine others are missing per Wednesday (14/4). The SAR team are reportedly still in search of the missing children.

In response to this, Plan Indonesia had conducted the rapid need assessment started from last Monday to Wednesday (5-7 April 2021) to map the needs of the survivors. Especially, as the disaster has been affecting the children's lives differently.

After being evacuated with their parents, the children are now in need of adequate support to thrive in a healthy environment. Moreover, in emergencies, children are prone to lose the care of their parents or caregivers and they could experience neglect without any protection from violence. Without the right psychosocial support, they could also experience other risks that might lead to trauma.

Following the rapid need assessment, it is indicated that the children need several types of support, which include emergency shelter tool kit, access to clean water, hygiene, and sanitation, child protection and psychosocial support, as well as provision of education in emergency.

Until Saturday (10/4), Plan Indonesia team has distributed 370 packages of emergency shelter tool kit (blanket and mattress) along with 370 packages of menstruation hygiene management kit for the survivors in the local health centre, evacuation centre in Waiputang, as well as in the public hospital (RSUD) in Lewoleba.
However, the rapid need assessment also indicates the difficulty of access to the affected area. As transportations are still scarce, aid distribution from Kupang city to Lewoleba is still hindered. Besides, Plan Indonesia found that sufficient data is not yet available, especially the ones that is sex- and age-disaggregated. This situation hinders emergency mapping of the specific aid needed by the girls, women, boys, and the men affected by this disaster. This problem of data availability has been relayed to the local government since the beginning of the response coordination.

To this effect, Plan Indonesia continues to collaborate with local government and volunteers to ensure that the aid could be distributed swiftly to children and their families so that they could thrive in this situation.
Aside from distributing humanitarian aid, Plan Indonesia has also been inviting the general public to donate through and, with approximately Rp 27 million gained out of the Rp 50 million targeted by 10 April 2021. The fund will be distributed to meet the needs of the cyclone Seroja survivors in Lembata, especially for the children and their families, following the result of Plan Indonesia's rapid need assessment.

As an organisation that strives for the fulfilment of child rights and equality for girls, Plan Indonesia prioritizes the needs and protection of children and their families in every emergency response. Especially, as children, women, and people with disabilities become more susceptible to threats in a situation that forces them to evacuate.