The Indonesian Government formally ended the Emergency Response on Monday 22 November, one month after a 7.7M earthquake and three metre-plus tsunami wreaked devastation in the Mentawai Islands on Monday night 25 October.
Latest figures from the government indicate that 509 people were killed; 21 are still missing; 550 houses were destroyed; and more than 11,400 people remain displaced from their homes.
In the past two weeks, the focus has shifted from the immediate provision of food, shelter and medical attention to the issue of the displaced population. People continue to be traumatised, and many are still living in temporary camps on the high ground behind their villages.
The government has proposed a series of permanent camps, accessible by road and/or logging tracks, many kilometres inland, and camp locations have been identified for every affected community.
SurfAid wound up its distribution phase of the emergency response on Friday 12 November, and started work on the emergency recovery phase on Monday 15 November. “Given the problems of access around the affected communities, exacerbated by the appalling weather, this represents an outstanding achievement and is a credit to all of our staff, and our supporters and sponsors,” SurfAid Program Director Dr Alan Rogerson said.
“Since we started the Phase 2 Recovery activity we have already made wide-ranging assessments of the communities we plan to target on Sipora and the two Pagai islands, and we have started to deliver much-needed health assistance to many of the communities who lost family members, neighbours, homes and livelihoods in the tsunami.”
Dr Rogerson said that SurfAid’s Phase 2 work represents the beginning of a long road to recovery for the people of the Mentawai.
“We have been in the Mentawai for the past 10 years and we are committed to remaining there for as long as it takes to assist with the tsunami recovery, to help build community resilience and help establish reliable plans to deal with the next natural disaster to affect this group of islands – as the earthquake experts predict.
“Anybody who has visited the Mentawai will realise the people are resilient and industrious. They are prepared for the hard work ahead, and it is our job to help them in their rebuilding,” he said.
Dr Rogerson said that SurfAid wants to thank everybody who has supported the organisation financially, in-kind or via email and personal messages. “It means a lot to our staff, many of whom are natives of the Mentawai themselves,” he said. “They have all worked long hours in some extremely trying circumstances, and it provides a real boost to know their efforts are being appreciated.”
SurfAid is committed to the program outlined below, and has completed the training component of Phase 2 activity. The coordination and field management of these three projects is the responsibility of Tom Plummer, our Mentawai Program Manager.
Phase 2 Recovery
The objectives for the past week have related to training the staff members involved in each of the three projects in Phase 2, in both SurfAid’s Tua Pejat (the main town of the Mentawai) and Padang offices.
The P4B Project (Proyek Pencegahan Penyakit Pasca Bencana).
This was previously called Posyandu Plus and started on Monday 22 November. The key objective is to visit a series of individual communities affected by the tsunami, and to provide a rapid assessment of the overall health status of children, their mothers and pregnant women, and to provide any treatment which is necessary.
This will incorporate standard Posyandu (health clinic) services such as weighing, provision of multivitamins and iron, and other medications. SurfAid field staff will also provide refresher training/education related to hygiene, sanitation and disease prevention, and every family will be provided with an adequate supply of insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
The project will commence in South Sipora then move onto the communities at the northernmost point of Pagai Utara. This team is led by Rick Hallett, a trained nurse and the captain and part-owner of Midas, one of the two surf charter vessels which were seriously damaged by the tsunami while they were moored at Macaronis Resort.
The Psycho-Social Support Project.
This will implement a series of rapid assessments in affected communities in Sipora, Pagai Utara and Pagai Selatan. This information will determine the communities suffering the greatest levels of post-traumatic stress disorder, and will ensure the subsequent project activities are targeted at the most appropriate communities.
This team is led by Stacey Howe, who developed and managed the psycho-social support project SurfAid implemented in West Sumatra following the earthquake there last year. The team also consists of two psychologists and some of the members of the SurfAid field staff, all of whom speak bahasa Mentawai and who have been working in Mentawai communities for several years.
The Temporary Shelter Project.
This will be established in the four worst affected communities in South Sipora. The team comprises the recent members of the SurfAid Mentawai Clean Water Project (who recently completed a water tank and tap stands in Gobik) who have extensive experience of working in Mentawai communities and encouraging and supporting their collaboration.
The team is led by Matt King, a builder from New Zealand who was responsible for constructing the Quiksilver Community Health Centre in Katiet, and who is highly experienced in field construction in Indonesia. Their initial focus will be on community engagement, socialising the project and its components and understanding the needs and aspirations of the communities.
SurfAid has secured two charter boats (Kaimana and D’bora) for the duration of Phase 2, to accommodate staff, provide transport between villages, facilitate access to villages and ensure reliable communication between field teams. And internet facilities have been established in SurfAid’s posko (information post) in Sikakap, the main town in the southern Mentawai.
Dr Rogerson said that SurfAid’s Phase 2 activity will be formally concluded at the end of February 2011 however it will be followed immediately by the longer-term Phase 3 recovery program that is already well into the planning stage.
“This will feature an extension of the psycho-social support project, the introduction of an Emergency Preparedness project, implementation of a hygiene and sanitation project component, and some much-needed attention to the nutrition status of the most vulnerable members of these communities,” he said.
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