Disaster in Indonesia

Following the 7.5 magnitude earthquake in Indonesia, and the resulting tsunami and aftershocks, our longtime partner Bumi Sehat is working with local midwives to establish safe birthing tents and buy solar lights, water filters, & medical supplies.

Photo from Bumi Sehat

Last week a massive 7.5 magnitude earthquake shook the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia and surrounding regions. The ensuing tsunami and numerous aftershocks have contributed to wiping out entire villages and towns in Indonesia. Over 1,230 people are confirmed dead, with the death toll expected to rise.

Our friends at Bumi Sehat in Bali, Indonesia have endured a number of natural disasters, and are often some of the first to show up to offer assistance. The ongoing challenges associated with climate change mean that these disasters show no signs of future decline. In the meantime, people are desperate for food, water, and shelter, and so many women are homeless and pregnant, also in need of food water, basic supplies, and health care.

Donate today to EMC’s Emergency Fund to help victims of Indonesia’s earthquake and tsunami. Every Mother Counts will match every dollar raised up to $10,000 for our partner, Bumi Sehat.

Here is an update from Ibu Robin Lim, midwife and Founder of Bumi Sehat, describing what it has been like since the earthquake:

“Bumi Sehat has had a medical relief team in Lombok, since the earthquakes in late July/early August. Our midwives, nurses and doctor experienced the second 7.0 earthquake…it taught us how very terrifying it is for the families there. How can they begin to imagine a normal life again, when the earth keeps trembling? Lombok is as terrible as Haiti was in 2010, Nepal in 2015….Bumi Sehat is doing what we can to establish safe birthing units in tents. All the tents in Indonesia are sold out. We are awaiting two tents from Direct Relief International… being air freighted now. Meanwhile we have seen over 3,000 injured and sick patients. Malaria is now upon Lombok, and the rains have come, while most families in the northern half of the island — hundreds of thousands of people — are sleeping in the open.

[In September], Typhoon Mangkhut devastated the northern part of Luzon, Philippines, where my mother’s family lives. My family is safe, but so many are not. Fortunately, people heeded the evacuation warnings, therefore much loss of human life was prevented. The issue now is hospitals, clinics, homes, and schools are destroyed. I am raising money for the efforts to rebuild and restore hope.

On September 28th, when the 7.5 earthquake struck Sulawesi, there was a tsunami warning. Then the warning was revoked…young people were gathered on the beach, for a music concert, then the tsunami struck! Much of my Balinese son-in-law’s family lives in Palu, Sulawesi. We are still trying to find Aunt Dewi…she lives in an area where there is liquefaction — loose sandy soil giving way, swallowing entire houses.

Sulawesi has no electricity, the cell phone towers are felled, and communication is impossible. The bridges are out, gas stations are all destroyed, no fuel can be had, so people cannot travel, even to try to locate lost family. Running water pipes are all broken. Food and drinking water are desperately needed. The bodies of the dead have been heaping up in front of damaged dark hospitals and broken mosques.

We thank heaven international help is now being accepted for the Sulawesi disaster. Bumi Sehat is seeking donations to begin working with the local midwives, to establish safe birthing tents — all the while we fear people will forget the disaster situations in Philippines and Lombok, due to this new crisis in Sulawesi.

We need solar lights, water filters, tents (all tents in Indonesia are sold out), and money for medical supplies. We are establishing partners on the ground in Palu. Getting to the areas with the most need is still impossible. The military is helping to bring relief workers and supplies into Palu by Hercules C130 planes. They have asked me to come, but I must first organize supplies and another medical team, as I won’t show up empty-handed.

Meanwhile the effects of climate change disasters are profoundly felt by the expectant and birthing mothers. We see more complications of pregnancy, much more. It is a knife in my heart day and night, that hundreds of thousands of mothers-to-be are homeless, hungry, thirsty and have no safe clean place to birth.

It’s been so difficult responding to Lombok’s earthquake disaster. Our head midwife there, Budi, is originally from Lombok, and her family home is only rubble, but she keeps working. And, yet another disaster in the Philippines and now…utter devastation in Sulawesi.

Love, Ibu Robin and the Team Midwives of Bumi Sehat”

Please donate here to EMC’s Emergency Fund to help victims of Indonesia’s earthquake and tsunami. Every Mother Counts will match every dollar raised up to $10,000 for our partner, Bumi Sehat.

Topics: Maternal Health