They need help - GulfToday

They need help

Picture used for illustrative purpose only.

First of all, my deepest condolences to the residents affected by the earthquake based in Cianjur, Indonesia (“Quake survivors appeal for supplies as rain hits rescue,” Nov.24, Gulf Today).  

The world must respond to the pleas of the survivors of the earthquake that killed at least 271 people, many of them children. They want food and water as heavy rain and aftershocks hamper rescue efforts among the rubble of devastated villages.

The calls for help came as authorities warned that debris from landslides caused by the strong quake near the town of Cianjur in West Java needed to be cleared as rains forecast for the coming weeks threatened a second disaster.

According to the latest BNPB (National Agency for Disaster Countermeasure) data, 25 people were still reported missing, 362 people had mild to severe injuries, 3,137 houses were damaged, and 7,060 people displaced.

In Talaga village, some residents put signs on the windows of damaged houses and the front of tents that read “We need help!”

In the streets, at least three people held up cardboard boxes, asking for donations. Evacuees crammed under flimsy tents, unable to move inside from the rain in case buildings collapsed from an aftershock.

The government has dispatched tents and other supplies to Cianjur for the displaced, and the military deployed 12,000 personnel on Wednesday, officials said.

Heavy rain was hampering those efforts in about a dozen villages where more than 22,000 houses had been destroyed.

Most of Indonesia’s territory is prone to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, forest fires, volcanic eruptions, and so on. Disaster events can occur at any time.

Salma Habib, By email

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