One Month On: Thousands of children still need support in Central Sulawesi, after the earthquake and tsunami
JAKARTA, 25 October 2018 – Nearly one month after the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Central Sulawesi, over 2 million people are affected, more than 220,000 people have been displaced and at least 110,000 survivors, many of whom are children, living in evacuation centres, still need immediate support.
"There is the risk of waterborne disease spreading as the water sources have been contaminated and many of the boreholes are damaged and are not functional, which can very risky to the health status of the survivors,” says Dr. Rachmat Willy Sitompul, Health and Nutrition Specialist, Wahana Visi Indonesia.
The huge loss and devastation ensuing from the earthquake and tsunami affects 460,000 children in four districts. “As sanitary conditions have drastically deteriorated since the disaster many survivors particularly children, pregnant mothers and the elderly are at risk of communicable diseases,” he adds.
The monsoon season also poses as a risk to the affected population, creating an urgent need to improve the living conditions of the camps. Tens of thousands of people have seen their homes flattened or damaged to such an extent that it is not safe for them to return.
Dr. Situmpol considers the people in Central Sulawesi even more vulnerable than before. “We’ve been here in the islands for more than 15 years. Stunting and malnutrition issues were prevalent prior to the disaster and if not addressed soon children under 5 can be at high risk of becoming malnourished,” adds Dr. Sitompul.
Wahana Visi Indonesia staff have already begun providing appropriate nutrition to mothers and infants by setting up community kitchens, with volunteers cooking meals such as porridge, made of rice and vegetables.
Due to a long presence and strong partnership with the government and local partners in Palu, Sigi, and Donggala, Wahana Visi Indonesia staff were able to respond immediately after the disaster. Child-Friendly Spaces have been set up in different locations that enable children to cope with the distress of witnessing the destruction caused by the earthquake and tsunami. It is a safe space where children can continue learning, playing and just being children. Trained facilitators at the centre are also sensitising children about disasters by sharing information on how to protect themselves from a natural disaster and how to prepare for future disasters.
Infant and Young Children Spaces are organised to provide proper nutrition and safe spaces for children under 5 including pregnant women and lactating mothers. Thousands of pre-positioned supplies in Palu including hygiene kits, blankets and mats have been dispatched to the affected individuals, to provide for the life-saving needs of the people affected by the earthquake and tsunami.
“We are committed to bring as much support as possible to lessen the suffering of these people. Recovery work is underway to build a sense of resiliency”, adds Dr. Sitompul.
As families are starting to rebuild their lives, Wahana Visi Indonesia is closely coordinating with the government and partner agencies to ensure that children are able to recover and rebuild their lives in a safe and conducive environment. Within six months, Wahana Visi Indonesia aims to meet the immediate needs of 80,000 people, focusing on food, non-food items, hygiene kits, emergency shelter, nutrition, and protection, especially for women and children.
Wahana Visi Indonesia background
Wahana Visi Indonesia has been a partner of World Vision for 61 years and was already responding to an earthquake in August that killed more than 400 people in Lombok. Indonesia sits on the ring of fire, so-called because of the shifting tectonic plates that regularly result in earthquakes and volcanoes.
For media interviews, contact:
Wahana Visi Indonesia -Central Sulawesi Earthquake and Tsunami Emergency Response
Mobile: +62 811 9470575