Everyone Is Suffering. Everyone Is Afraid.
by Adjie Fachrurrazi, CARE emergency coordinator in Indonesia
October 5, 2009
It has been raining non-stop for the past six hours. Heavy, heavy rain.
People are traumatized. They are asking for help. Everyone is suffering. People say to me, "Don't count the number of destroyed houses. Count the number of houses still standing. It will be faster." In most villages I have seen, only 15 percent of houses are still standing. Some houses are totally flattened. The roof is flat on the ground. People lost everything. Their houses are destroyed, everything in them is destroyed. And everyone is afraid so those with houses will not go inside. There have been aftershocks over the past few days but today was mostly quiet. Everyone is afraid of another earthquake.
So people are sleeping outside, living outside. We are all wet. They have no shelter. Some people are sleeping under broken pieces of roof. Shelter is the main issue. People also need mosquito nets. They are sleeping outside, and with all this rain, there will be mosquitoes and malaria. Children are already starting to get sick. They need blankets, mosquito nets and plastic sheeting for shelter.
People are drinking coconut juice, or river water. People in these village used to get their water from springs, but the pipes are broken. In Padang city, the municipal water is not running yet. The water from the river is not clean, and people don't have stoves to boil water. They need clean drinking water or there is going to be a rise in waterborne illness. We have supplies to help 5,000 people to start, but we need funds to help more.
There are many injured people and people still buried under buildings. It is very hard to reach the affected areas. Landslides have blocked roads and there is debris everywhere. Our team went out by motorbike today. We have 20 people on the emergency team, including staff from our local partner. This damage looks worse than the Yogyakarta quake in 2006.
It has been five days now. It's not clear how many people are affected yet. We don't have all the information from the rural areas. There are many dead bodies. And the smell is coming.