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“It Is A Disaster, No One Can Be Blamed.’

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By Wiwik Widyastuti

Padang Pariaman, West Sumatra

It was Wednesday afternoon in the village of Tanjung Alai. Sariani had just finished her prayers and was sitting in the living room watching TV with her five-year-old grandchild, Farisa. It was a regular evening; everything was just fine until the ground started to shake.

Disaster Strikes Southeast Asia and Pacific Islands

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A series of natural disasters – including two typhoons, four earthquakes and a tsunami – recently hit Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. These disasters have devastated communities, killed and injured thousands of people and left millions homeless millions due to flooding and destruction.

CARE is on the ground in the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Indonesia, assessing survivors' immediate needs and providing lifesaving aid, including clean water, food and temporary shelter. An estimated $15 million will be needed to provide humanitarian assistance in these hard-hit areas.

“It was shaking as if a big truck had passed by in front our house,’ Sariani, 49. As the shaking got stronger she realized it was not a truck, it was an earthquake. “Then, we got up and ran.’

A few seconds later, her house collapsed.

Feeling weak, Sariani lay down on the ground. Everything was spinning. She had lost everything she ever had.

“When I saw my house collapse in front of my eyes, I was so shocked. I could not say a word,’ Sariani says in a quiet voice.

(PARIAMAN, WEST SUMATERA, INDONESIA-OCTOBER 6, 2009: Sariani 49 years and her grand daughter stays inside a temporary shelter after her house was badly damaged by earthquake at the village of Kuranji Hulu, Sei Gringging Sub District. CARE is part of a coordinated international effort to bring relief to the estimated 200,000 people affected by the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that hit the area on September 30th.CARE is readying jerry cans and water purification kits for distribution, along with blankets, sarongs, hygiene kits, and materials to build community latrines. Photo by CARE/Edy Purnomo)

Sariani”s husband, Jafan, 53, is a motorcycle taxi driver. He was in the market when the earthquake hit. “After the tremor stopped, I rushed back home,’ Although grateful that his family is safe and unharmed, seeing the ruins of the house that he built with his own hands was devastating. “I cried seeing my house destroyed – the house that I build by saving penny by penny from my daily income as a motorcycle taxi driver. It was gone.’

The family, like many others, spent the night outside, with sky as their roof, afraid to go inside. Most of the family”s belongings are buried under the ruble. All they could save were some plates, glasses, a cooking jar and a small bed. They are traumatized. Sariani is afraid to even go near the remains of what used to be her house for fear the remaining walls will also collapse.

Jafan can only hope for the best for the family. “It is a disaster, no one can be blamed. What I can do now is work again, harder than before, so I can rebuild the home for my family.’

(PARIAMAN, WEST SUMATERA, INDONESIA-OCTOBER 6, 2009: Jahan, stands in front of his damaged house at the village of Kuranji Hulu, Sei Gringging Sub District. CARE is part of a coordinated international effort to bring relief to the estimated 200,000 people affected by the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that hit the area on September 30th.CARE is readying jerry cans and water purification kits for distribution, along with blankets, sarongs, hygiene kits, and materials to build community latrines. Photo by CARE/Edy Purnomo)

Posted by jthompson@care.org on Oct 8, 2009 12:01 PM US/Eastern

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