Written by: Chandrea Baster
On the 28th of September, a powerful earthquake and tsunami shook the small island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. The massive 7.5 earthquake triggered a mounting tsunami that had waves up to six meters high. Nearly two and a half weeks after the natural disaster, rescue operations are still underway as the country desperately attempts to pick themselves up after the terrible disaster.
Earthquakes that trigger tsunamis are not uncommon in Indonesia – rather, because the country’s location in the “Ring of Fire” situates it in an area with plentiful volcanoes and the collision of earth’s crust, the country often suffers from such catastrophes.
Governmental officials and representatives have cited this horrendous earthquake and tsunami as one of the worst emergency situations they have ever encountered. Although the Indonesian government initially abstained from requesting aid, they quickly requested foreign aid from various non-governmental organizations that are prepared to deal with disaster relief when they noticed the true scope of the disaster. Nearly three weeks after the tragedy, search and rescue operations have officially subsided. Now, various aid groups such as Save the Children and the Red Cross are focused on helping survivors and are repairing the unimaginable damage left in Indonesia.
As of October 14th, the World Bank vowed to give Indonesia $1.4 billion to aid in recovery. Two cities, Palu and Lambok, are nearly completely destroyed with majority of houses, buildings and mosques demolished. It could be years before these two cities recover to a point of possible habituation, and many formal estimates state that it may take nearly two years before communities will be able to settle in these devastated areas once again. This large sum of money will be used to aid the large reconstruction and relief efforts that are necessary in Indonesia right now.
However, it will take much longer than two years for the communities in Indonesia to recover from this disaster. Over 2,500 people died and there are over 75,000 still displaced. Although rescue efforts have officially ended, many individuals still missing and many are concerned that they will never be found. Large areas that have been deemed irreparable are going to be transformed into mass graves for all those who lost their lives in the tragedy – with the earthquake and tsunami causing such damage, the rescue efforts were focused on rescuing those who could have possibly been alive under buildings. Now, long after the tragedy, the aid groups are focused on honoring and taking care of those who lost their lives through proper burial and prayer.
However, rescue efforts themselves are extremely dangerous and many first responders have been tirelessly working to help those in need. Indonesian officials have been taking proper measures to secure those aiding survivors through vaccinations and proper equipment, as the rescuers have been working with individuals both alive and dead. Furthermore, certain collapsed buildings and areas have been deemed inaccessible and have unfortunately not been able to be reached due to them being strictly too dangerous.
Therefore, as Indonesia attempts to pick themselves up after this catastrophe, it is of uttermost importance that foreign countries aid in whatever way possible to help Indonesians recover after this unimaginable tragedy.