Indonesia’s “twin disasters”

A+woman+searches+for+supplies+amongst+debris+after+a+massive+earthquake+struck+the+city+of+Palu.+
A woman searches for supplies amongst debris after a massive earthquake struck the city of Palu.

A woman searches for supplies amongst debris after a massive earthquake struck the city of Palu.

A woman searches for supplies amongst debris after a massive earthquake struck the city of Palu.

Uroob Saeed, Web Editor

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The last weekend of September, over 1,000 lives were lost after Indonesia was hit with a massive earthquake followed by a tsunami. Two cities-Donggala and Palu- witnessed both events, resulting in an even more devastating outcome. The tsunami reached 20 feet in some areas in Palu and the magnitude of the earthquake reached 7.5.  These “twin disasters” resulted in 70,000 people homeless and 1,407 people confirmed dead, a third actually receiving some type of burial. Of course, this number is expected to rise, as there may be thousands of bodies still buried underneath mud and rubble.

Although it has been six days since the disasters struck, the majority of the survivors who were badly injured are still waiting to receive treatment. Amongst them is Mohammad Zaki, age 10. Zaki had gotten severe lacerations on his abdomen after being forcefully hit with waves of ocean water from the tsunami. After the chaos had cleared, Zaki was found by an officer and taken to a hospital. He has been waiting for an operation for five days. The state-run Undata Hospital has no fuel for its generators, so it is forced to operate without full electricity. Nurses and doctors worked with latex and gardening gloves splashed with rubbing alcohol, while some worked barefoot with no gloves and patients await treatment for days in the sun as corpses are wrapped in body bags and transported for mass burial.

So far, the government’s disaster management agency has deployed more than 6,000 people to offer supplies, which includes clean water, instant noodles, medicine, and fuel. Officers have been placed to stop the looting and chaos that rose in the aftermath of the events. Foreign aid has been offered from 29 countries, 17 meeting specific needs of Indonesia. Singapore and Japan have offered C-130 transport planes to aid in the transport of supplies, while other countries like Australia provided doctors and medical equipment.

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