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Hidden Indonesia homeless: Muslim Aid fears the numbers of displaced will rise dramatically

Countries
Indonesia
Sources
Muslim Aid
Publication date

Two Muslim Aid disaster relief experts fear that numbers of internally displaced people may rise by many thousands.

Muslim Aid UK’s Head of Mission Fadlullah Wilmot, who arrived this morning in Palu, and Global Head of Humanitarian Asif Sherazi, who leaves for Jakarta tonight, both fear that there are hidden homeless people in the aftermath of the tsunami.

“Thousands of people have had to leave damaged homes and flee to relatives or friends, but they may not be able to stay indefinitely,” says Wilmot. “There are 71,000 people who are currently internally displaced, but around 66,000 homes have been damaged and the average amount of members per family is five. People who are currently staying with relatives or friends need to rebuild their lives and homes. We may be looking at around 350,000 people without a secure home for the longer term, including the official figures for people needing emergency shelter right now.”

He adds: “Other people whose have lost their homes either permanently or temporarily are paying for accommodation but do not have unlimited funds. They may have nowhere to go when the money runs out. I met an elderly man and a disabled man, both from Palu, who fled to Mamuju with their wives. They are staying in a cheap hotel but they are pensioners so they don’t know how long they can afford to stay. They have nowhere else to go, as their homes no longer exist. There are many thousands of displaced people in this situation.”

Muslim Aid’s team on the ground will be supplying emergency relief such as food, water and temporary shelter for around one month. Our longer-term plans will focus on recovery and rehabilitation for these devastated communities.

Muslim Aid’s staff have been waiting in Mamuju for government permission to distribute aid in the affected areas to survivors. Wilmot was joined on Tuesday by Canadian colleagues from Indonesian organisation Global Medic who have brought water filtration units with a capacity of three gallons per minute to support the local Global Medic team. Muslim Aid is working with Global Medic in Donggala and Palu and with local organisation PKPU, to assess the needs and enable a rapid and effective response to help save lives.  Our distribution is planned for Sunday.

Muslim Aid UK (MAUK) has launched an appeal for the survivors of the Indonesian tsunami to help the over 200,000 people urgently in need of humanitarian assistance. Currently the death toll is at 1,581, with 2549 injured, 113 lost and 153 buried. A volcano erupted on 3 October 2018 in north-east Sulawesi, it was not critical.

“We very much hope we can deliver aid on Sunday,” adds Global Communications Co-ordinator Madiha Raza, who is now on her way to Palu. “It’s always chaotic in the aftermath of an emergency and in this case the bridges and roads were closed. So it’s been difficult to get access to the worst hit areas.”

The tsunami resulted in 20-foot-high waves crashing onto the coast, destroying thousands of homes and causing devastation around the provincial capital of Palu and along the coastline, leaving Donggala and other coastal cities in ruins and without power.  

Asif Sherazi adds: “Our in-country office will do everything possible to support those destitute and traumatized people. They need food, water, medicines, clothing, soap and other hygiene products.” These basic needs are based on the ASEAN’s Joint Disaster Response Plan (AJDRP), which also includes primary healthcare, first aid and psycho-social support, nutritional needs, medicines, feminine hygiene kits, and important non-food items.

Muslim Aid UK will work through Yayasan Kemanusiaan Muslim Indonesia (YKMI) to support Global Medic in its response and has initially allocated £50,000 for immediate use.