October 7, 2013 by Karen Vanderwillik / Topics: International Disaster, Karen Vanderwillik
“My family and I received the support we needed to begin my recovery,” said Zubaidah, a 31 year-old wife and mother of two young boys in Kala Ketol village in Indonesia.

“We also learned about earthquake-related health problems and ways to maintain family health in times of disaster.”

In July 2013, Zubaidah was one of the thousands of people affected when a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the island of North Sumatra, Indonesia – the same island that was devastated by the 2004 tsunami. The 2013 quake destroyed roads, flattened homes and damaged public infrastructure including health and medical centers.  Over 40 people were killed and thousands more were injured, including Zubaidah who was left unable to walk.

World Renew worked through its local partner, the Society for Health, Education, Environment and Peace (SHEEP) to respond to the urgent needs of earthquake survivors like Zubaidah. Teams were on the ground within two weeks of the quake and quickly provided emergency medical attention. Temporary medical centers were set up and mobile medical assistance was provided in homes of people who were unable to reach a clinic. The beneficiaries were also provided with psychosocial counseling as well as information on their rights to government compensation as survivors. In addition, a multi-purpose community hall and public bathrooms were constructed in the village of Jerata to serve as a location for public health services, public meetings and children’s activities. These became sanitation models for all survivors in Jerata, as it was rare for households to have their own toilets.

In Kala Ketol village, Zubaidah was given medication, physiotherapy exercises and follow-up care.  She and her family were also taught how to care for each other through the rehabilitation process and in the case of future disasters.

“In Zubaidah’s village, the family and the neighbours helped each other, particularly when one community member was sick,” explained Andreas Subiyono, Director of SHEEP. “They also started collective work to build shelters and to maintain health while living in temporary shelters, particularly during the cold weather.”

Two weeks after leaving the project site and returning to the capital, the SHEEP medical team received good news – Zubaidah was walking again and able to do light work! In total, World Renew and SHEEP were able to help 473 people in six remote villages in the mountainous region of Central Aceh.

“We are thankful for our team members and their hard work and positive impacts in the community in Central Aceh,” states Subiyono, “and we also realize that the emergency response would not be possible without the collaboration of Word Renew.”

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