57 000 people in Indonesia remain homeless a year after M7.5 Sulawesi earthquake, tsunami and liquefaction

57-000-people-in-indonesia-remain-homeless-a-year-after-m7-5-sulawesi-earthquake-tsunami-and-liquefaction

A year after M7.5 earthquake, devastating tsunami, and liquefaction ravaged Sulawesi in Indonesia, approximately 57 000 residents are still homeless up to now, the Indonesian Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent Societies reported on September 23, 2019.

The multiple natural calamities happened on September 28, 2018, taking lives of 4 300 people and destroyed over 103 000 residential properties.

A year after, 57 000 people who lost their homes and agricultural properties are still unsure as to when and where they can rebuild their homes again.

Scientists were surprised that the earthquake generated such a big tsunami. Normally, large tsunamis occur after megathrust earthquakes that cause vertical displacement. But the Sulawesi earthquake occurred along a strike-slip fault, meaning the motion was horizontal.

Some scientists suspect that a submarine landslide, shaken loose by the earthquake, may have provided the energy that fueled the destructive tsunami. In addition, the narrow, finger-like shape of Palu Bay likely amplified the fast-moving surge of water and made it even more dangerous.

The affected residents have been staying in a temporary accommodation facility where they rely on relief goods and emergency assistance.

According to Arifin Hadi, Indonesian Red Cross Head of Disaster Management, their staff and volunteers have delivered relief items such as food, hygiene kits, and blankets to over 108 000 victims in the past year.

The staff has also brought drinking water to an estimated 280 000 people.

"We will now shift our focus on creating a more resilient community, training people to build better, stronger homes, providing permanent water sources, rebuilding health centers and helping people restore their incomes by providing livestock or boats," he stated.

The government is prompted to redouble their efforts to examine settlement areas and assist thousands of evacuees in camps for them to be able to build permanent homes that are more resilient to further calamities.

"Families still need our help to move on after this disaster," said Jan Gelfand, IFRC Indonesia Head of Country Office.

The Indonesian Red Cross alongside IFRC and partners will work together to provide the long-term recovery necessities of almost 90 000 residents in 24 of the worst-affected regions in Sulawesi through to 2021.

Volunteers and staff will also assist in awareness campaigns on health and hygiene, training for building stronger and safer homes, and disaster preparations.

Featured image credit: IFRC

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