Indonesian villages still reeling from massive flooding

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Adhong Syahri ramadhan, CRS' emergency response manager based in Jakarta, recently returned from two villages in Indonesia hard hit by the recent flooding and landslides following of heavy rainfall. More than 14 people were reported dead, and nearly 3000 people were forced to flee their homes. Adhoong, who has worked for CRS for five years, spoke with CRS Communications Officer Liz O'Neill about what he saw. CRS is supporting our local partner in distributing emergency relief materials to the most needy populations. Adhong was also involved in the Aceh tsunami response and Yogyakarta-central Java earthquake response.

1. For someone unable to see what you witnessed on the ground, could you describe the scene for us?

November 19, I was arriving in the hardest hit village by landslide name Girimukti at 2 p.m. with torrential rain still falling in the village. That was a day after the search and rescue team pulled out from the location with total casualties reported 14 and more than 3 missing. The number of people missing was reported differently by newspaper, but search and rescue teams received only 3 people reported missing from the community.

I have seen crowds of people; men, women, elderly and a mother with baby sitting inside a large tent. I can see trauma faces from most of the women there because heavy rain still showering the village.

There is not enough space inside the tent. Men and women mixed without divider.

Most houses are permanent houses made from bricks and cement but in the small size because the village is located under the hill. I saw several small mudslides scattered in the areas and I knew why people are worried about the rain. A small mudslide can become a large hazard for them.

A small road and one bridge that connect the village to the main road were washed away by strong current. They were the only access to the village. People together with government temporarily fixed the bridge with wood so that supplies can be transported to the village.

2. What are the most pressing needs in the two villages affected?

Temporary shelter is the most important need of the people right now so they can start living with their own families. Drinking water stock is enough for about one week from donated bottled water. Water condition for daily use is dirty and muddy. There are some water sources from dug wells. Food stock such as rice, noodles and fish are enough for one month.

3. How has daily life been disrupted there?

In the Cibokor village, a village hit hard by mudslides, no classes are being held for children in junior school. All classrooms are occupied by people who have no house or are frightened to stay in their house. Same with Girimukti: children are not going to school yet.

The village still lacks electricity, latrines and clean water for daily purposes. Water is used for washing and bathing and cleaning cooking utensils.

4. Is CRS the only NGO there?

The local government and Red Cross have taken care of the food, drinking water and medical services. Some private companies and individuals also contribute food supplies.

CRS and a local partner brought 150 plastic tarps and equipment for temporary shelter. Ten family-size tents were available from the Red Cross.

- Liz O'Neill