Australian Aid Workers Face Challenges in Indonesia
5 October 2018 at 5:38 pm
Australian aid workers in Sulawesi are dealing with electricity shortages, communication problems and aftershocks amid their efforts to help survivors of Indonesia’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Australian NGOs are working on the ground with local authorities to provide access to clean water, food, blankets, sleeping mats and medical care to more than 70,000 Indonesians left homeless from last Friday’s disaster.
But aid workers also face the severe challenges of working in a disaster zone, and Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) humanitarian policy and advocacy advisor, Jen Clancy said this made relief efforts especially difficult.
“It’s been tough getting aid to some of the affected areas due to extensive road damage, as well as electricity and fuel shortages,” Clancy told Pro Bono News.
“Telecommunications outages have made it hard to get clear information out about the extent of this disaster, and there have also been ongoing aftershocks from the earthquake, making people concerned about the safety of the area.”
Australian Red Cross and Indonesian Red Cross are supporting 80,000 people affected by the tsunami and earthquakes in Indonesia.
— ACFID (@ACFID) October 5, 2018
The magnitude 7.5 earthquake and six metre tsunami that rocked the Indonesian island of Sulawesi has killed upwards of 1,500 people and it is estimated more than 190,000 people need urgent humanitarian assistance.
But Clancy said Australian NGOs were also aware of the impact of a humanitarian response on their staff, including on their mental wellbeing.
ACFID and its NGO members in Indonesia have asked the public to show their generosity with cash donations, rather than sending unrequested goods to the region.
“We always advise people not to send food to disaster zones because often they can end up in landfill or they may not even be allowed into the country they’ve been sent to,” Clancy said.
“Most of the items people need are available within the country itself, and buying it from local markets actually helps the area with the economic recovery from disaster.”