Oxfam helps Indonesia earthquake and tsunami survivors with clean water

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Sofian Adly, 38, who works for Oxfam's partner Pusat Kajian Perlindungan Anak (PKPA), installs a water filter outside of the city of Palu. Photo: Hariandi Hafid/Oxfam

With nearly 79,000 displaced by disaster, temporary shelter also a priority

For survivors of the September earthquake and tsunami on Sulawesi Island, which has killed more than 2,000 people, the struggle  to find clean water and shelter continues for the 78,994 people displaced by the disaster.

One of them is Mas’ad, who was in her home with her three children when the first earthquake hit. “We ran away from the house. When the tremor hit for the second time, it broke my house,” she says. “Thankfully, my three children survived.”

Mas’ad, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, says she is living with relatives in Dampal village, in Donggala, one of the worst-hit areas, while her husband is working in the nearby city Palu.

“I can’t stand living in these camps,” she says. “There are no toilets, and we must go to the hills to find clean water.”

Mas’ad stands in front of her home, destroyed by the earthquake, with a tarp provided by Oxfam. Photo: Irwan Firdaus/Oxfam

Oxfam and our local partners on Sulawesi are setting up water treatment filters in areas where displaced people are seeking shelter. We are also distributing hygiene kits: buckets for storing clean water as well as soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, shampoo, soap powder for washing clothes, and diapers. Clean water, and hygiene items are crucial to help avoid the outbreak of water-borne diseases following a disaster that damages water and sanitation systems.

Listiani, 40, says she and her family have been seeking shelter in Balentuma village, along with 319 people. “So far, we have taken water from a nearby river,” she says. “All this time, we have lacked clean water.” Oxfam installed a water treatment system in the village to serve the displaced people there.

Temporary shelter solution

To help people with uninhabitable homes like Mas’ad, Oxfam and our local partners in this area are also distributing 500 tarpaulins they can use for shelter. “I want to set up the tent in front of my house so it could be easier to cook near my home," Mas’ad says. She says Oxfam also gave her a sarong, a popular form of clothing in Indonesia.


Oxfam intends to assist half a million people affected by the earthquake and tsunami on Sulawesi in the coming months.

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