Sulawesi earthquake survivor stories

Team Rubicon UK
Oct 19, 2018 · 3 min read
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Team Rubicon volunteers in Palu.

It’s been over two weeks since a series of earthquakes triggered a powerful tsunami on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, and the needs of the stricken communities remain massive.

An initial search and rescue phase ended last week and the latest official figures say at least 2,200 people are known to have died and 4,600 sustained “major injuries”. Many more are still unaccounted for.

The situation on the ground is still desperate, and there is still urgent need for food, clean water, tarpaulins and medical assistance.

Team Rubicon remains in-country at the sharp end, working with the government and local NGOs to best support the people caught in the aftermath of this disaster.

You can help us help these people by donating to our Crowdfunder campaign here:

Faridah, 78

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Faridah and her family rest in a temporary shelter. Lewis Inman/Arete Stories

“My name is Faridah, I am 78 years old, I have 10 children, 30 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren and all have survived.

Every time aftershocks occur it reminds us about the first earthquake, and the kids start to cry.

I don’t know how to make them not notice.

During the evacuation, my grandchildren have started to get sick during their stay in the camp, especially after it rained.

They start with diarrhoea and fever, maybe because the weather and sanitation aren’t clean.”

Suryani, 62

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Suryani (right), in Sigi, Indonesia. Lewis Inman/Arete Stories

“It’s been almost two weeks now that me and my sister-in-law have had to live in camps with the victims of the earthquake along with my family.

Although I was traumatised [by the earthquake], I didn’t give up for my children and grandchildren so as not to psychologically affect them.”

Elvira, 32

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“I live with my husband Anwar, my brother Herman and two of my children. When the earthquake happened, I was bathing my child, Ari (3).

The roar could be heard like a thunder and my house began to tremble and the ceiling of my house began to fall. Luckily, we both only suffered minor injuries.

One thing my family is thankful for is that our rice fields are not damaged so we can still harvest rice in December, to continue our lives in the future.

I hope we will be given assistance to rebuild our homes.”

Ariati, 52

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Two of Ariati’s children — Reni and Afira– outside the wreckage of their home. Lewis Inman/Arete Stories

“My name is Ariati and I am 52 years old with nine family members. I have six children, two daughters-in-law and one grandchild. I’m the head of the family since my husband died 10 years ago.

We’ve received some aid since the earthquake and we built a shelter in front of the house from debris. We still really need rice, blankets, drinking water and bath soap.

Although we don’t have much food, we are grateful to be able to eat still.”

All photographs and reporting by Lewis Inman/Arete Stories for Team Rubicon UK

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