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20-12-2018 | Latest News , Asia & Pacific

Three months after Indonesia disasters, Red Cross focuses on improved shelter for thousands of displaced families

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Palu / Geneva, 20 December 2018 – Three months after an earthquake, tsunami and soil liquefaction devastated Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, the Red Cross is shifting its focus to helping affected families find safe and accessible accommodation.

Steve McAndrew, head of operations for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Sulawesi and Lombok said:

“With the emergency now over, we are turning our focus to finding families improved and safer shelter, in their original communities where possible. Tented camp settings serve a vital purpose in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, but they are never meant to be long-term shelter solutions.”

The focus on improved shelter is a step towards normality after the triple disaster killed more than 2,000 people and displaced thousands more, disrupting the lives and damaging the livelihoods of survivors.

The Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), with the support of IFRC and other Red Cross and Red Crescent partners, will soon begin a pilot project to provide safe, secure and accessible transitional shelters for 400 families in four affected locations, with a total goal of supporting 5,000 households, or 20,000 people.

Arifin Muhammad Hadi, head of disaster management at PMI, said:

“These transitional shelters are not only safer than camps, they are also cleaner so people will have a better chance of remaining healthy. And we can’t forget the positive impact it will have on survivors who are still hurting emotionally, to return to a place that feels more like home in the familiar surroundings of their own communities.” 

The project is part of a holistic recovery approach adopted by the Red Cross which includes health services, psychosocial support and water distribution and, going forward, livelihoods support. The transitional shelters will be built in the four regencies of Donggala, Palu, Parigi Moutong and Sigi. Community members will also be trained on improved building techniques which will help strengthen resilience in the longer term.

With PMI’s extensive experience in cash transfers from previous disaster responses, other options being explored could include a possible combination of cash, vouchers, or the complete reconstruction of a survivor’s home, taking individual circumstances into account.

Mr Hadi added: “We recently implemented a cash transfer voucher programme in North Lombok, where more than 2,000 families affected by the July and August earthquakes used vouchers to purchase rebuilding supplies that meet their individual needs. Feedback from the communities is that they greatly appreciate the flexibility of such a programme and it’s something we are considering implementing in Sulawesi.”

From the beginning, PMI has been at the forefront of both the Lombok and Sulawesi disaster responses, mobilizing more than 2,000 volunteers, including many who were directly affected by the disasters.

In November, IFRC revised its emergency appeal upwards to 38.5 million Swiss francs (38.5 million US dollars / 34 million euros) to support PMI in reaching 160,000 people affected by both disasters. The appeal, which will support activities through March 2020, is currently 49 per cent funded.

For more information, please contact:

In Palu: Kathy Mueller, +62 821 1075 4506, kathy.mueller@redcross.ca 

In Geneva: Alison Freebairn, + 41 7925 19333, alison.freebairn@ifrc.org 

About IFRC

IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world

 For editors:

Sulawesi:

Ø  28 September 2018, a magnitude 7.4 earthquake strikes Central Sulawesi, triggering a tsunami and three instances of liquefaction

Ø  The Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), with its teams of trained volunteers - more than 100 of whom were directly affected by the disaster - responded immediately

Ø  With the support of IFRC and other Red Cross and Red Crescent partners, PMI has:

o   Distributed 1,604 hygiene kits

o   Distributed 6.4 million litres of clean water

o   Distributed 33,809 tarpaulins

o   Reached 8,211 people with health services

o   Constructed 87 latrines

o   Constructed 4,928 emergency shelters

o   Provided 8,637 people with psychosocial support, many of them children

Lombok

Ø  29 July 2018, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck off Lombok, followed by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on 5 August and a 6.3 magnitude quake on 19 August

Ø  PMI responded immediately, mobilizing 953 volunteers, many from across the country

Ø  With the support of IFRC and Red Cross and Red Crescent partners, PMI has:

o   Mobilized 953 volunteers, many from across the country

o   Provided 7,116 households with shelter assistance, including 2,134 which received cash transfers

o   Distributed 18.2 million litres of clean water

o   Provided health services to 11,397 people; psychosocial support to 17,201 people, many of them children


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