Indonesia: Shelter After the Storm

Indonesia quake

Indonesian villagers who survived an earthquake have been able to build transitional homes thanks to grants from CRS. Photo: Josephine Wijiastuti/CRS

“I am so grateful to receive this support. Because of earthquake, my house was flattened,” says Ramaini, a 65-year-old widow who cares for her three orphaned grandchildren in a village in Sumatra, Indonesia.

Like many other villagers struck by a powerful quake in late September 2009, Ramaini salvaged some timber and metal roof sheets for use in building a pondok, the local term for a temporary shelter. But she needed extra help to buy additional roofing sheets and wood, and to hire workers to make a house.

Catholic Relief Services is providing cash grants to Indonesian villagers who are repairing their damaged homes or building transitional shelters. “I will surely use the money I just received to build a pondok,” says Ramaini. “If the money is not enough, I will cover the wall with tarp. The most important to me is roofing as it is now rainy season.” CRS uses spot checks to verify that the money is used for its intended purpose–building materials–and helps families find skilled labor.

The grants are a godsend for families whose homes are damaged beyond repair and unsafe to live in. Arlenawati, 35, has four children; her family lived in a tent for over a month. “When it was raining, we moved to the kedai (small traditional shop) nearby here because our tent was leaky,” she says. “We still keep some belongings in our old damaged house, but we don’t live in it–we are still traumatized from the earthquake, especially my children.”

“Three days ago we received [the CRS] money and bought 10 pieces of sheeting and four sacks of cement for the foundation. We also hired skilled labor,” Arlenawati continues. “We plan it to be our house. We will use the remaining money to buy timber for walling. We will demolish our old damaged house if this pondok is ready.”

“We have moved some of our belongings to this pondok,” she says. “We are now safe from rain and heat. We are happy.”

-Reported by Josephine Wijiastuti, CRS Indonesia

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