Churches Respond to Indonesian Floods

Action by Churches Together (ACT) International has launched a rapid response to the heavy rains in the north, east and central Aceh and Sumatra regions in Indonesia that have brought floods, death and destruction.

ACT local members in Indonesia – Church World Service (CWS) Indonesia, YAKKUM Emergency Unit (YEU) and Yayasan Tanggul Bencana di Indonesia (YTBI) – report that they are coordinating their responses to this latest disaster in the region.

The heavy rains have wrought extensive damage, claiming the lives of at least 80 people and displacing tens of thousands of people from their homes.

The most recent update from the CWS Indonesia field team from Langkat indicates that the level of water has gone down and that roads can again be accessed. Those affected by the floods have started cleaning up their homes during the day but are still forced to return to temporary shelters in camps in the evenings as they are afraid that the rains will continue.

Many of the homes are not yet habitable – some 200 houses are thought to have been destroyed by the floodwaters. The government has not indicated any plans to relocate these families at this stage.

An estimated 50,253 people (or 10,646 households) have been displaced from 12 sub-districts and the majority of these have sought shelter in the following camps: Posko Besitang, Mesjid Raya, Bukit Mas, Perkampungan Sungai Meran and Sekoci. Ten people lost their lives in this region.

In Besitang sub-district, seven villages have been affected: Damar Laut (186 households), Simpang Tiga (150 households), Bukit Kubu (500 households), Kampung Lami (500 households), Pir (270 households), Bukit Mas (800 households) and Sekoci (400 households).

In Aceh Tamiang, flooding claimed the lives of some 60 people, also displacing thousands. Flooding also occurred in Naggroe Aceh Darussalam. Twelve camps (posko) have been established in the region to provide shelter to those affected. The road of Lintas Timur Sumatera, which normally connects Aceh and North Sumatra, is severely damaged in Aceh Tamiang and Langkat.

The ACT members report from the field that at the moment, assistance in Langkat is being provided by the Social Department at district level, PMI (a coalition of local NGOs), political parties as well as some international humanitarian organizations. However, assistance is still needed for the following: food, water and sanitation, blankets, kitchen and dining utensils, clothes and hygiene kits.

CWS Indonesia had by Dec. 25 distributed 400 baby kits and 36 tarpaulins (provided by UNICEF) to people in Posko Mesjid Raya (Pekan Besitang), Sekolah and Madrasah (Sekoci Village). The team will continue to distribute the materials to people in Aceh-Tamiang and others camps in Langkat.

YTBI through GBKP has distributed food items in Besitang and Pantai Buaya.

YEU has sent a team to the affected areas, focusing on people's medical needs.

The three ACT members are working on a proposal for funds from the global alliance’s Rapid Response Fund mechanism.