8 August 2018: Children in Lombok are scared, cold and homeless as earthquake crisis enters third day

As recovery efforts to free trapped survivors from a major earthquake that has claimed 105 lives in Lombok continue, thousands of children remain without adequate shelter and out of school. 

Yayasan Plan International Indonesia (YPII), a member of Plan International, is responding to the emergency in Lombok. 

Staff on the ground report thousands of children, many of whom were left homeless from the first earthquake on 31 July, have been out of school for more than a week. They are sleeping in open fields and suffering illnesses from lack of warm clothing and blankets.

YPII emergency response worker Hana Yulia is in northern Lombok to coordinate the distribution of vital shelter kits to children and families still sleeping in open fields. More than 1000 schools have been damaged, 455 of those severely.

“Most people are still displaced,” Ms Yulia said. “They need safe shelter, drinking water, hygiene kits, and counselling, especially children, who are very scared about going back inside buildings.

“The shelters people have made for themselves are not safe or secure. Overnight the children are cold, they don’t have blankets or proper clothing to keep warm. A lot of children have developed colds, so they are suffering. 

“There is not enough water, so they go to the nearest river to take a bath. They have no water, no electricity and no access to their homes. 

Ms Yulia added that while the first earthquake mostly affected the Eastern Lombok region, the second has devastated the northern part of the island, particularly the Tanjung district, which is still largely inaccessible by road. 

Since the second large earthquake in a week struck on Sunday night, at least 176 aftershocks have occurred and continue to frighten children and residents still sleeping in open fields.

The latest Government estimates are: 105 people are dead, 236 are injured and thousands of buildings have been destroyed or damaged. These numbers are expected to rise as search and rescue teams continue to search for buried people in the sub-districts of Tanjung and Pemenang.

Plan International Australia has launched a fundraising campaign to support children affected by the crisis. Australians wishing to donate to the appeal should go to www.plan.org.au/give/appeals/indonesia-earthquake or call 13 75 26.

Susanne Legena, Plan International Australia CEO, said Plan International Australia has already committed $40,000 to the response and hoped Australians would get on board with the appeal to help Lombok’s children.  

“We are very concerned about the wellbeing of children who have been left homeless and very frightened by this tragedy. They have suffered a terrible shock and may have witnessed loved ones injured or killed and their houses destroyed. Their fear is compounded with each aftershock, which are continuing even today. Their schooling has ceased because the buildings are unsafe.

“Our first priority is safe and adequate shelter, with kits containing tarpaulins and blankets already on the way via chopper to the most affected areas in northern Lombok. We are also arranging for counselling support for children and the provision of education kits so that life can return to some kind of normality as soon as possible.”