New and safer homes for Sigi earthquake survivors

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The 6.2 Richter scale earthquake that struck Sigi District of Central Sulawesi on August 18, 2012 claimed six lives, injured dozens, and left thousands homeless. CWS Indonesia as one of the first responders has been helping the community to rebuild their lives in four of the worst-hit villages: Puroo, Langko, Tomado, and Anca.

With support from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), CWS has provided building materials such as cement, corrugated iron sheets for roofing, iron, plywood, nails, hinges as well as tools, to build temporary housing for the survivors. “The organization strives to help the most vulnerable. The four villages are only accessible by motorcycles, horses or on foot. This is why there has not been much assistance and support coming,” Beno Putro, CWS Indonesia’s Program Manager for Central Sulawesi, reported.

“This program is a partnership between CWS Indonesia and the community members. The villagers, who are assisted through this program, also provide contributions in form of labor and local building materials such as sand, stones, and wood,” explained Putro. Working groups have been established to help villagers coordinate construction activities. These working groups are also responsible to transport the materials CWS provided. “Our organization also provides trainings on building earthquake-resistant housing and info sessions on disaster management and preparedness for community members as well as school children,” Putro further explained. “Bad road access and heavy rainfall that caused some landslides do not stop us from helping the people of Sigi,” Putro added.

A total of 180 families, whose homes were totally destroyed or heavily damaged have been assisted. Anita, a mother of two children from Langko village, and her family lost their houses. “Our house was completely destroyed, but thanks to the support from CWS, we now have a new and better home and we feel very comfortable in it,” said Anita, who works in vegetable gardens with her husband. The earthquake-resilient house is now home to Anita, her husband, her elementary-school children as well as both of her parents. “I feel safe living in this house because we followed the earthquake-resistant construction guideline when building it and I also feel prepared because we have been equipped with information on what to do when disaster happens.”