Kuala Lumpur, 4 October 2018…After travelling by road for days, the MERCY Malaysia relief teams arrived at Donggala, one of areas that was worst-hit in the earthquake and tsunami last Saturday that has claimed over 1,800 lives and left over 71,000 people homeless in Central Sulawesi.
The team arrived early this morning to a scene of massive destruction, with over 66,000 houses razed to the ground and people sleeping out in tents. Tensions are high, as many of the villages have not had any food or water in the last few days. Clean water supply is currently being supplied by NGOs or public buildings such as mosques, but supplies are fast depleting.
Upon arrival at Donggala, the medical volunteers sorted out the medications and other supplies, while other team members attended coordination meetings with the Indonesian Emergency Response and Assessment Team and Indonesia’s disaster relief agency, Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana.
The team also surveyed sites at Talisa, Silae, Ulu Jadi and Kota Palu to assess the most pressing needs in the area. Food supplies, temporary shelter and hygiene kits are some of the primary concerns, apart from medical care.
A temporary health clinic will be established at Silae offering Primary Health Care and wound care. Apart from providing medical assistance, the clinic will also help in collating data on disease prevalence, and provide surveillance data to the local health authorities. This is to monitor the possibility of outbreaks in water-borne or infectious diseases.
“People are still in a daze and traumatised by the incidents,” says Norazam Ab Samah, Executive council member of MERCY Malaysia and team leader of the Palu/Donggala humanitarian response. “We have to stay focused on our tasks at hand so as not to feel overwhelmed by the general sense of sadness around.”
Apart from transportation, price hikes in basic necessities are main challenges in providing relief aid to the communities affected.
A food pack which contains cooking oil, rice, sugar, biscuits, salt and other dry rations cost RM170 for a family of four, while shelter kits with mats, blankets, mosquito repellent, nails and a tarpaulin sheet costs RM420. Hygiene kits consisting of underwear, sanitary napkins, comb, toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving kit, nail cutter and soap would cost RM180.
“We urgently appeal for donations from caring Malaysians to help the people affected. Every bit will make a difference, so no amount is too small,” urges Norazam. Donations can be made to Palu Relief Fund (MBB 5621 7950 4126) on Malaysia’s website www.www.mercy.org.my. All contributions are tax-exempted.
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