Indonesia is known as a ring of fire nation because of its placement on a significant segment of active volcanoes. One of these volcanoes is Anak Krakatau (the Child of Krakatoa) located in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra in the Indonesian province of Lampung.
While thousands of people were savoring the weekend along the seashore, the Child of Krakatoa erupted unnoticeably on the evening of December 22, 2018, Sunday. Geologists said that one-third of mount Anak Krakatoa collapsed or slide under the sea which triggered giant waves or tsunami.
The tsunami struck mostly the coastal areas of Ujung Kulon, Carita, and Serang to Southern part of Sumatra island causing damage to people's homes, highways, markets and hotels. According to the Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) records, besides the destruction of the buildings, highways and private infrastructure, the tsunami disaster caused the death of 437 people, 37 missing, 7,202 injured and around 40,000 displaced.
Joint SVD-SSpS Response
The SVD and SSpS of Java provinces responded to the tsunami disaster. Through the JPIC and VIVAT International-Indonesia commission, the SVD-SSpS team provided an emergency response assistance to four villages in Ujung Kulon, Sumur District, Pandeglang Regency, Banten. On December 27, 2018, Paul Rahmat and Lucius Tumanggor from the JPIC-VIVAT Indonesia team visited the disaster site in Cipining, the village of Tunggal Jaya, Sub-district of Sumur. After rapid observation and assessment, JPIC-VIVAT made contacts with the affected people and built networks with the local volunteers. At the same time, the JPIC-VIVAT team brought initial assistance in the form of kitchen utensils (plates, gas stoves, buckets, spoons), tarpaulins and canned goods to residents living in tents and temporary refugee camps. The team also brought school-related assistance to students from these areas on January 14-16, 2019. Around 85 Primary and High School students received school uniforms, shoes, books, and other students-related needs.
Furthermore, the team also gave carpentry tools such as saws, hammers, crowbars, nails, and shovels to 235 affected families. These tools were given to help them repair the ruins of their destroyed houses and built temporary shelters independently for themselves. With the help of work tools, they can carry out daily activities which would prevent them from being depressed with their situation. This is part of the effort to recover stress and trauma from the natural disaster.
Empowerment: Give a net, not Fish
The people who suffered the most losses due to the tsunami were the fishermen. In addition to their houses being damaged, fishing gear such as boats, nets, and engines were destroyed and even carried by the wave to other areas. JPIC-VIVAT lent a hand to the fishing groups/communities in four villages on the coast of Ujung Kulon. The team provided 122 fishing nets for 122 fishermen who have been verified to have lost their means of livelihood. The fishing net assistance was given symbolically by Paul Rahmat from the Indonesian VIVAT Foundation to the Regent Irna Narlita at the Pandeglang Regent Office Hall on Monday, February 25, 2019; witnessed by the representatives of fishermen from four villages in Ujung Kulon and volunteers and administrators of Rumah Madu Post.
The fishing net assistance was directly given at the regent's office and witnessed by the representatives of fishermen to attract the attention of the Pandeglang Regional Government. This was done in the hope that the government officials will directly listen to the needs of the fishermen who were victims of the tsunami disaster. "This time the net first, the others will follow," said the regent of Pandeglang Hj. Irna Narlita at the symbolic turnover of the fishing net aid. The regent Irna, at the same time, ordered the Head of the Fisheries and Marine Service District Pandeglang to immediately verify the data of the fishermen who would receive assistance with fish catching equipment, including the traditional fishermen in Ujung Kulon.
Meet with the Ujung Kulon Fishermen
Ahead of the turnover of the fishing net assistance, an assembly was held with the representatives of fishermen from the four villages of the Sumur sub-district in Pandeglang on Sunday, February 24, 2019. The consultation between the Ujung Kulon fishermen was facilitated by Rumah Madu Post and attended by several supporting organizations, including VIVAT Indonesia Foundation, and Indonesian Fishermen Union (SNI). During the meeting, a discussion on the efforts to strengthen and economically empower the residents of Ujung Kulon fishermen in the Sumur District were affected after the tsunami was done.
In the context of the recovery and empowerment of fishermen's economy, affirmative programs were to be pursued. Among others: (1) the formation of groups of fishermen who are coordinated and organized through mentoring and training; (2) try to get fishermen residents to get Fisherman Identity Cards (FIC) from Pandeglang Regional Government: Department of Marine and Fisheries; (3) increasing fishermen's income by facilitating fishing gear. In addition to the nets, efforts were made so that the fishermen who were victims of the tsunami received boat and engine assistance from the regional or central government. (4) Tsunami disaster mitigation by planting mangrove trees and other trees along the coast of Ujung Kulon.
In implementing the Tsunami disaster relief program in Sumur Subdistrict, Pandeglang, the JPIC-VIVAT team collaborated and coordinated with several civil society organizations and social institutions. JPIC-VIVAT's main partner in the field is the Rumah Madu Post. Through this Command Post, JPIC-VIVAT contacted, coordinated and collaborated to identify the needs of victims, made assessments and distributed logistical assistance. In addition, there is also a joint planning for long-term programs in the context of restoring and empowering traditional fishermen after the tsunami disaster. The Tsunami disaster has passed, now is the time for the fishermen in Ujung Kulon to get back up immediately. The tsunami passed, Ujung Kulon Rises! * (Translated into English by Kasmir Nema, SVD)
* Video “The tsunami passed, Ujung Kulon Rises” - can be seen in VIVAT Indonesia channel Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPBLZK9YVm0
By Paul Rahmat svd, VIVAT International-Indonesia