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On site: Relief underway in Indonesian village where 95 percent of houses destroyed
Dan and Jeanne Jantzi
October 7, 2009
Editor’s Note: Dan and Jeanne Jantzi, MCC representatives in Indonesia, were in the village of Guci (Goo-chi) assessing how MCC can meet the short- and long-term needs of earthquake victims. The Jantzis are from Lowville, N.Y . Here are some of their reflections in their own words:
We walked through the shaded village of Guci and visited a number of families. Ibu Lina told of being away from home in the rice fields when the earthquake hit. Her eyes overflowed as she told about her three daughters and their grandmother running out of their home to escape the falling walls. Her family is camped out in a little wooden hut in the yard, surrounded by the mattresses and clothes they could salvage. The house behind her lay in ruins, and there was no way to ignore it.
Guci has 282 households. Of that number, 242 houses have been totally destroyed, according to the numbers village leaders had posted on a white board at the relief post. Another 30 homes have mid-range damage. These homes cannot be rebuilt but may have parts that can be used temporarily. An additional 11 homes sustained damage that can be repaired.
The people of Guci are primarily farmers. Farmers in Guci can get two rice crops per year. Planting season should begin in 15-20 days from now. They are worried because some of the irrigation systems have broken, but they think they should be able to get by because of the good rains.
Their bigger concern is the need to feel secure in leaving their ruined homes to go to the fields. They feel they need temporary wooden shelter rather than tents for better health and better security as they wait to rebuild their homes. They expect that the rebuilding could take up to two years.
The relief post
We visited the relief post that the Indonesian Mennonite Diakonial Service, a partner of MCC, has set up in the village of Guci. Two village leaders, Pak Mayadi and Pak Afrizal, met with us. Pak Mayadi said repeatedly how much they appreciated the help of Pak Joko Supriyanto from Mennonite Diakonial Service.
“When relief aid began to come, we were so confused,” said Mayadi. “A truck would just stop on the road and start passing out items. Those who lived away from the road would not get any help.
“Pak Joko helped us to set up a relief post with a good structure so that everything is distributed justly. Pak Joko has also helped us to build many networks to help people get assistance. There is a different feel in Guci than in other places. We can facilitate people to get help.”
Pak Mayadi said that Mennonite Diakonial Service helped their community to think through how to handle the relief response to reduce the potential for conflict.
He pointed to a pile of 35 kits brought by the Indonesian Red Cross. Later tonight, village leaders will be sitting together to open the kits and decide how to distribute them equitably to about 282 households. He also showed us other supplies — six flats of eggs and some cans of sardines. The village leaders will evaluate the items and decide how many sardines are equivalent to how many eggs, and so on.
Pak Mayadi said that Pak Joko had warned them that the relief center volunteers should never eat the food that was given by different groups for distribution to the community. Instead, Mennonite Diakonial Service supplies all the food for the volunteer teams.
Pak Mayadi said, “I would never have thought of that. We have not had experience with this before. We don’t want conflicts to start. This takes careful management and lots of discussions with the community.”