NEWS RELEASE #10: MERCY Malaysia begins building shelters and toilets in Palu

Kuala Lumpur, 14 October 2018…After two weeks of mobile clinics and distributions of food and non-food items at tsunami and earthquake-struck Palu and Donggala, MERCY Malaysia has started the construction of temporary shelters and communal toilets for the affected communities. The organisation will, however, continue supporting medical services through its local partner, MER-C Indonesia, at the same time begin psychosocial services.

Last week, the organisation has also successfully established a Type 1 Field Hospital at Sibalaya Utara at Sigi district, which will support the existing health services at the Puskesmas or distric clinic. The district Puskesmas will now be upgraded to a main Puskesmas because the road leading to the main puskesmas was destroyed.

“Like all other buildings that are still standing, there are cracks on the walls of the Sibalaya Utara Puskesmas. Even visitors like us were nervous when entering the building, what more the patients who have to spend a few hours waiting in line,” says Dr Shalimar Abdullah, MERCY Malaysia’s EMT logistic specialist and Vice President III.

As a result, patients would rather seek treatment under tarpaulin tents or the Field Clinic in case there are aftershocks from the earlier earthquakes. That also explains the popularity of the Naval Hospital, which was overwhelmed with patients since it docked at the Palu port on 3 October.

Sigi, the site of soil liquefaction and earthquake, had claimed the lives of 200 teenagers who were participating in a church activity. Another 50 families are still missing, and are now assumed dead as search and rescue activities officially ended on 11 Oct, last Thursday.

MERCY Malaysia is currently building two sets of communal 3-in-1 toilets at a site opposite the Sigi Market where 700 displaced people, including 200 children, are currently staying. The community of 101 families had been sharing one single toilet since the last two weeks.

“Currently, the excrement is collected in plastic bags and dumped in the surroundings. The two sets of communal toilets, each with a toilet, wash area and shower, will provide real relief to the communities here,” states team leader Norazam Ab Samah.

“The toilets will also reduce the risk of infectious diseases, with some children already beginning to experience diarrhea,” adds Dr Shalimar. There is also a need to address the indiscriminate disposal of household rubbish, which is creating a stench which could attract flies and become breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Plans are underway to build 150 to 200 temporary shelters at the area to provide a comfortable living space for the next 6-18 months.

Urgent funds are needed to help the people affected, and every bit will make a difference. Donations collected are at RM506,525.63(as of 11 October 2018).

Contributions 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.