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Lombok earthquakes - stories from brave survivors

Houses in Kerujuk
Houses in Kerujuk

The Indonesian paradise island of Lombok has been shaken by three big earthquakes in just 11 days. Hospitals, banks, schools and homes have been destroyed and over 400 people have died. More than 300,000 people have fled their homes and are now living in camps.

Muslim Aid staff were already on the ground when the first earthquake struck and able to respond immediately to help those affected. Some of the team were by the epicentre when the second earthquake struck. And many of them were in the office when the third earthquake struck, causing them to run out fast.

Initially Muslim Aid has been supplying emergency food, including baby food, tarpaulin and warm blankets to help provide temporary shelter, clothing, hygiene packs (with shampoo, toothpaste, soap), nappies and sanitary towels, currently targeting 1,600 households mostly in remote villages and the hardest hit areas.

Muslim Aid’s team is working alongside government disaster management agencies and is continuing to assess people’s needs. Muslim Aid is mobilising existing trained local volunteers to help with their response work. Some of the original team have had to return to their home town of Mataram to search for their own family and friends.

In Selad village (West Lombok) out of 277 houses 137 have been so badly damaged they can’t be lived in. People that have fled their homes are sleeping in 2 camps. On 7 August alone, Muslim Aid delivered 10 tarpaulins, 50 mats, 50 blankets, 4 nappies, 4 packs of bottled water, 20 instant noodle packets, 4 bags of rice and tampons to Selad village.

Muslim Aid ground team spoke to Inq Sone one of the older ladies sitting on mats under the tarpaulin amongst the many women and children. Inq is a deaf 60 year-old lady who has lived in the village all her life. Her home was once a pretty purple house sitting under the palms, now it has been demolished

She told us “At the time of the earthquake I was watching television, suddenly the house shook. I ran out of the house. My house was almost completely destroyed. I have slept outside for 5 nights now. It’s cold sleeping outside, we need blankets…..I am frightened to return to my house, I don’t know when my house will be repaired. I’m frightened for the future.” she said sadly. 

Sufriyanti Ira is also living under the tarpaulin with her baby:

“I ran for my life with the baby. I felt so anxious. My home has been completely demolished”. Muslim Aid is giving nappies to mothers like Sufriyanti.

In another village Kerujuk we met Irfan…

Irwan is married with one daughter and has been a Muslim Aid volunteer for one year.

“On the night of the earthquake I was at home with my family, after visiting another village. My first thought was to look after my wife and daughter; I told them to crouch on the floor and I stood and put my arms over them. We didn’t run but when the shaking slowed down I took my family outside.

“After checking if all the families were safe I tried to contact Muslim Aid. To see what help was available. I tried to keep the community calm and told them not to worry. Then I told them to build tents from existing materials, while we waited for help. 

“Within 24 hours Muslim Aid had come with tarpaulin, mats, rope, rice, mie noodles, other food to cook.

“It’s quite hard to think forwards because all the families are impacted and 99% of houses are damaged. Now we are worried we can’t use public buildings like the mosques and the toilets, but we have built two temporary latrines.

“People are traumatised. They have no spirit at the moment as they are still thinking about the last earthquake yesterday. I can’t imagine a day when we will be back to normal.”

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