• Since the earthquakes and tsunami struck in August and September 2018, over 1 million children and their families have been reached with critical humanitarian assistance.
• Throughout 2019, UNICEF continued to respond to the disasters under the leadership of the Government of Indonesia, and in partnership with local and international NGOs.
• The Government ended its response phase in April 2019 and UNICEF has been supporting the Government’s efforts in transitioning from response to recovery and longer-term development.
• In August 2019 UNICEF finalized the implementation of two cash transfer projects aiming to assist benefiting households with access to basic goods and services. In total, cash assistance benefited 6,144 households consisting of 25,457 people out of which 13,738 were children.
• In addition to the response in Lombok and Central Sulawesi, UNICEF has supported the Government of Indonesia’s efforts to respond to a circulating vaccine-derived polio outbreak (cVDPV1). Across two rounds, a total of 1,019,551 (80%) and 1,175,310 (93%) of the estimated 1,262,880 children under 15 years old were immunized with bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) in the provinces of Papua and West Papua.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Throughout 2019, UNICEF continued to respond to the disasters in Lombok and Sulawesi under the leadership of the Government of Indonesia, and in partnership with local and international NGOs.
A Multi-Sector Needs Assessment (MSNA) was completed for Central Sulawesi in Feburary 2019. A MSNA is planned for Lombok in Q1, 2020 to inform gap analysis and exit strategy. Findings from the Central Sulawesi MSNA indicate that needs tended to vary based on displacement status, rather than geography. Access to services in Palu City was largely dependent upon displacement status; nondisplaced households tended to access basic services more easily and sufficiently than IDP households.
Displaced households in Central Sulawesi, particularly those living in informal settlements and those living in tents or makeshift shelters next to their former homes, were found to be the most vulnerable groups and remain the most affected by the disaster.
The plurality of displaced households found to be living in other households’ homes or were directly supported by the host community also experienced difficulties in accessing some services, particularly shelter support, and often had more difficulties receiving aid due to being more difficult to identify among the local population.
Although inadequate sanitation issues noted during the early response have largely been resolved, displaced households report worrying levels of open defecation, and while there are sufficient communal latrines in informal settlements, many lack many basic protection features. Health issues are likely to be compounded by unresolved issues around nutrition and sanitation; the poor nutrition and sanitation environment, along with the high instance of diarrhoea among IDP households may lead to additional need for health services.
Education access has largely returned to the same levels as before the disaster; however many children in Parigi Moutong, Central Sulawesi, were reported to have not been attending school before the disaster, suggesting underlying issues beyond school repair. Housing, land and property are the central issues for disaster-affected families and children in Central Sulawesi and in Lombok and will remain the ongoing challenge during recovery. In both areas, female and child-headed households are particularly vulnerable as they are less likely to be recognised as eligible for assistance.
Government-led social assistance in Central Sulawesi has focused on construction of permanent housing (hunian tetap or ‘Huntap’) for disaster-affected communities. Meanwhile, a primary strategy of West Nust Tengara government has been to disburse cash assistance based on relative damage to household shelter. Collective permanent housing presents a variety of issues in their assignment and service access, especially in terms of protection.
Household shelter in Lombok sustained approximately twice the total damage compared to Central Sulawesi, and provincial government claims that over 100,000 people are still in need of shelter assistance. Disaster-affected households in Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB) face challenges with land rights and their associated entitlements due to high numbers of absent spouses, informal marriages and informal tenure.
In April 2019, the end of the ‘transition’ period was declared which led to a shift of focus from response to recovery interventions.
Polio emergency: In February 2019, the Government of Indonesia declared an outbreak of circulating vaccine derived polio virus (cVDPV1) based on a single case and 2 positive contacts from the remote Yahukimo district of Papua Province. This is one of the most remote parts of Indonesia, with many communities only accessible by air.
Given the strong push towards global polio eradication, the outbreak is considered a public health emergency of international concern. The intial phase of the response plan has involved at least 2 rounds of immunization with bivalent polio immunization in the adjoining provinces of Papua and West Papua province, targeting close to 1.3 million children under the age of 15 years.
UNICEF has established field offices in Papua and West Papua, with longstanding trust relationships with the Provincial Health Offices. It has been supporting the Government in its polio response in a number of ways: (1) direct technical support to planning of the response (2) support to cold chain assessments (3) social mobilization campaigns to raise awareness through journalist engagement, print media, tv, radio and social media (4) direct engagement through partners in hardest-to-reach ‘highland’ districts in Papua Province where health systems are poorly/non-functional.
Since February 2019, UNICEF has facilitated 2 rounds of immunization reaching a total of 1,019,551 (80%) and 1,175,310 (93%) of the estimated 1,262,880 children. No new polio cases or samples have been identified since February 2019. Planning for a ‘second phase’ of the response is underway which includes strengtheing routine immunization services and conducting a final round of ‘multi-antigen’ support to highland districts, which entails bundling polio vaccine with a wider range of vaccines to address underlying immunity gaps. It is anticipated this process will conclude in quarter 2-3 of 2020.