Photos by: Andung Asyari/Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), Terry Wong, Hong Kong Red Cross
On 5 November it will be 3 months since a destructive and shallow earthquake measuring 6.4 magnitude and multiple aftershocks struck the island of Lombok, Indonesia. The epicentre was located inland, near Loloan Village in North Lombok Regency. Its rupture spread to the north and reached the sea, creating tsunamis. Severe shaking was reported throughout the entire island, while strong shaking was reported on the neighboring islands of Bali and Sumbawa. Widespread damage was reported in Lombok and Bali. Officials stated that at least 80% of structures in North Lombok were either damaged or destroyed. An estimated 47,000 people have been reached with Red Cross interventions including health care, relief supplies, clean water and food, psychosocial support, community engagement and reuniting families. On 1 October, IFRC issued a revised emergency appeal, seeking 22 million Swiss francs to support the Indonesian Red Cross in its response to both the Lombok and Sulawesi disasters.
The earthquake is the largest and the strongest earthquake to have hit Lombok in recorded history, yet it runs the risk of becoming a silent disaster while attention is being given to the most recent disaster in Sulawesi.
An Indonesian Red Cross (Palang Merah Indonesia or PMI) volunteer explains the Red Cross cash transfer programme. Cash is best, and the Red Cross is assisting families in Lombok in their recovery with cash transfers. These funds allow families to decide for themselves what their most important needs are. In Lombok Utara, 2,134 households have already received cash transfers from the Indonesian Red Cross. The plan is to reach 8,000 families with cash transfers in Lombok, benefiting approximately 32,000 people.
People are still reeling from the emotional and mental impact of the earthquakes. Volunteer teams with the Indonesian Red Cross are conducting regular psychosocial support activities for people in Lombok, particularly children. Three months on, over 15,000 people have received psychosocial support from the Red Cross.
To ensure children don’t miss out on studying, Red Cross teams have also set up temporary classrooms for elementary schools so that children living in some communities can continue their classes.
Clean water is more difficult to access after the series of earthquakes and +1,500 aftershocks in Lombok. Earthquakes shifted the land and damaged pipelines. Indonesian Red Cross specialists in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) are working to repair pipelines and access to water sources. Additionally, the Red Cross is producing, testing and distributing clean water across the island. So far, they have distributed over 12 million liters of water to hard-hit communities in Lombok.
An estimated 431,400 people remain displaced in Lombok. While some have moved to be with family in other parts of the country, many continue to live in makeshift shelters, and are in need of basic household items. These temporary shelters built by the Red Cross are earthquake resistant and safe from flooding.
For the last three months, the Red Cross has been working round the clock to make sure people are as comfortable, safe and healthy as possible in their current accommodations. The Red Cross medical teams have reached over 9,700 people with health services.