Indonesian Red Cross staff and volunteers have begun a rehabilitation project on the island of Nias, recently hit by landslides that killed more than 100 people and left another 170 missing. The landslides which followed a fierce storm on this island west of Sumatra, left a trail of destruction that is still being cleared up.
For several days after the disaster hit the island, search and rescue efforts were hampered by the damage caused to the infrastructure and telecommunications in Nias's southern districts. With so much destroyed, it was going to be as struggle to get a normal routine back into people's lives. According to Pepe Salmela, Federation Disaster Preparedness delegate in Jakarta, it is going to take a year before people get back on their feet.
Using its own resources to handle the situation, the Indonesian Red Cross is now focusing on the rebuilding of people's lives. As a start, a local donor came forward and contributed 26,000 US dollars to the Indonesian Red Cross to reconstruct a school and provide assistance in the rebuilding of houses of approximately 150 to 200 families. These, the same group targeted in the initial emergency relief distribution in the immediate aftermath of the landslides, will be resettled near to the original sites of their homes, but further away from the river.
The Indonesian government has also released an initial sum of 200 million rupiah (23,600 US dollars) towards the rebuilding of bridges, roads and telecommunications facilities.
The only humanitarian organisation to have provided assistance to the landslide victims from the outset, the Indonesian Red Cross began its relief operation by dispatching within days, four tonnes of noodles, 250 tarpaulins, medical kits with supplies for 10,000 people for three months and clothing. An additional 200 family kits from the Indonesian Red Cross' Padang Chapter warehouse, matched by a similar number from the International Committee of the Red Cross warehouse in Aceh, were also sent.