Kuala Lumpur, 5 October 2018…As the impact and devastation from the earthquake and tsunami that hit Palu and Donggala on 28 September slowly unravels, MERCY Malaysia steps up its response with a three-pronged approach to provide shelter, food and medical services. 11 team members are on the ground at Palu, consisting of medical practitioners and technical experts, working with local partner PKPU Human Initiative.
The static clinic established in Silae, Palu, received almost 50 patients within its two hours of operations yesterday. The clinic, which offered Primary Health Care and wound care, also provided counselling and medical advice on safety and communicable diseases in light of the unsanitary conditions following the tsunami.
A second clinic is due to opened at the town of Talise, while a Field Hospital is being planned to support the local hospital that is at bursting point with injured and ill patients.
Many of the villagers are afraid to go home, shares medical officer Dr Jasmine Avalani Chandrakant, so they are camping out in the open or in makeshift tarpaulin tents. With widespread destruction as far as the eye can see, says Dr Jasmine, the villagers affected try to stay positive by not thinking of their losses and cracking jokes, such as eating too much Indomeeand sleeping under the stars.
Living conditions and transportation remain challenging, with food and non-food items taking 18-20 hours to arrive at Palu from Makassar. MERCY Malaysia has started distributing 100 Shelter Kits today, consisting of tarpaulin sheets, nails, wooden structures, blankets, mats, and mosquito repellent.
Meanwhile, assessments have begun for the building of transit homes, locally known as ‘Rumah Senyum’. Allocations for these homes are based on priority, with single mothers, senior citizens and families with young children and disabled persons given priority.
With over 66,000 houses destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami, the need for transit homes is enormous. Power supply has yet to be restored, hence there is a huge demand for fuel. However, fuel prices and supply are severely limited as it needs to be transported in via the nearest town, Mamuju, which is 8-10 hours away.
As such, people are using fuel sparingly, such as reducing vehicle use, turning off their cell phones to maximise battery strength and using their generator sets only for limited hours in the night.
The teams are working closely with the Indonesian Emergency Response and Assessment Team and Indonesia’s disaster relief agency, Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana in identifying further needs.
Urgent funds are needed to help the people affected, and every bit will make a difference. Donations to the Palu Relief Fund can be made to MERCY Humanitarian Fund (MBB 5621 7950 4126) or MERCY Malaysia (CIMB 8000-7929-08) or through www.mercy.org.my.All contributions are tax-exempted.
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