FIELD STORY: Holding Hands to Lessen the Burden of Jabodetabek and Karawang Flood Survivors

It was Sunday (7/3) when Rika (28-year-old) welcomed us warmly. She invited us into her living room, where we chatted and discussed her story. Although her house was hit with flood days ago, the living room, which was now covered with blue tarpaulin and mat, felt comfortable enough to be in. According to Rika, she had cleaned her house before our arrival and she had covered the area with the emergency shelter tool kit that she received from Yayasan Plan International Indonesia (Plan Indonesia).

“I am very happy and grateful to receive the aid. It is very helpful (to my family),” Rika shared.

Rika and her family were among the flood survivors who lived in the Bekasi Regency. On February 21, 2021, a stream of water entered Rika’s house and swamped the rooms, up to 1-meter high. When it happened, Rika and her husband immediately took their baby (10 months old) and child (8 years old) to a safer place, which was their relatives’ home.

“We weren’t able to take any belongings with us. We only had what was on our body,” Rika said.

Five days after the water had subsided, Rika and her family decided to head back into their house. However, ahead of them was a piling amount of homework. They had to clean the house slowly and carefully, especially as it was filled with mud and snakes were spotted sneaking into the rooms.

Rika predicted that it would take some time until the house would be available for use again. She mentioned the furniture, such as cupboards, mats, and kitchen appliances, that were damaged by the flood. She also mentioned how the bare floor was still damp from the flood.

However, it was then when Rika utilized the aid provided by Plan Indonesia. Since February 24th, The Plan Indonesia Emergency Response Team distributed aid to help flood survivors in Greater Jakarta (Jabodetabek) and Karawang area. Especially, to help those who lived in Bekasi and Karawang Regencies—two areas that were hit hard by the flood. Together with local organizations and government agencies, Plan Indonesia distributed emergency shelter tool kits consisting of tarpaulins, blankets, mats, and ropes, as well as a family hygienekit consisting of buckets, toiletries, sanitary pads, diapers, and more.By the end of the emergency response period(March 10th),the aids were distributed to 2,700 families in the two regions.

From the aid that was provided to her, Rika utilized two tarpaulins and mats to cover the floors. At the same time, she used the ropes that were in the package to hang their clothes dry, as well as the blankets to keep her family warm at night.

Rika stated that the aid had helped in uplifting the family’s spirit. “We have regained the energy to continue with our daily lives,” she said.

A similar story was shared by Markuah (65 years old) and her elderly husband who lived close to Rika. Her family had to face some difficulty when a flood happened in the area. Their child was suffering from a stroke and couldn’t lift their right foot freely. When the flood hit the house, Markuah and her husband had to be assisted by the neighbours to evacuate to higher ground.

Markuah, 65 Tahun

Even as the water had subsided, Markuah and her family were faced with another dilemma. Their house, which was made of bamboo, almost fell apart after the flood. Dozens of their livestock also died in the disaster.

To navigate the situation, Markuah and her family utilized the aid that was distributed to them. They used tarpaulins, mats, and blankets from Plan Indonesia to cover the floors. According to Markuah, it prevented them from feeling the cold.

“We are very grateful for the help. We hope that the disaster won’t happen again in the future,” Markuah said.

In the time of emergency response, Plan Indonesia has always attempted to fulfil the needs of survivors and to prioritize the needs of vulnerable groups, such as infants, breastfeeding mothers, elderly people, as well as people with disabilities. We hope that the aid distributed to them could help to lift some of their burdens.

Written by Maulinna Utaminingsih, Emergency Response Team, Yayasan Plan International Indonesia.