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Oxfam provides drinking water and shelter to thousands as 600,000 are hit by Indonesia earthquakes

By Oxfam
Evacuation Centre in Dusun Baru, Villages Bentek in Gangga Subdistrict, North Lombok. Photo: Petrasa Wacana/Oxfam

Oxfam is providing clean drinking water and tarpaulin shelter sheets to 5,000 survivors as three devastating earthquakes hit Lombok Island in Indonesia this past week.

According to the state-run Antara news agency, as of Wednesday the death toll had risen to 347, with an additional 1,447 people injured and 165,003 displaced. The Indonesian Agency for Disaster Mitigation said the death toll and damage could be higher with conditions making it extremely difficult to assess the devastation.

“The people here are severely traumatized. They’ve lost families or don’t know where they are. In many areas roads, and other facilities are destroyed. It’s a struggle to find water, food, electricity and other essentials,” said Meili Nart, Oxfam Project Manager based in Lombok.

At least six hundred thousand people are affected, with up to 80 percent of the population displaced in four out of the five districts of Lombok (Northern, Western, Eastern and Central Lombok). Many are still reported buried due to landslides in the hills and the rubble of thousands of homes and buildings that have collapsed following the main earthquake and multiple aftershocks. 

More than 20,000 people are in temporary shelters while thousands more are under open skies in need of drinking water, food, medical supplies, and clothes. Clean drinking water is scarce due to extremely dry weather conditions leading up the disaster.

Following the first 6.5 magnitude earthquake last week, Oxfam had dispatched a mobile water treatment plant, 1,500 tarpaulins for shelter and clothing material, and set up an emergency relief information center to support the work of the local humanitarian partners. Oxfam will now intensify its aid delivery efforts immediately.

“We’re trying to get aid to them as fast as we can. We also want to help them deal with the trauma too, but it’s difficult, and progress is slow due to conditions on the ground. We thank the government and local organisations for their tremendous efforts, but we need to do more” said Nart.

While all Oxfam and partner staff on Lombok are safe, many project sites had been hit hard by the quakes halting the regular operations. However, they continue to provide emergency aid to those affected by the latest quake.

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