Building homes and hopes after the earthquake

When a disaster strikes, ordinary life comes to an end. Fifteen-year-old Rudi* was playing volleyball when the earthquake hit. He rushed back home to make sure his dad was okay.

Although the house had collapsed, the walls had fallen outwards. So, miraculously, Rudi’s dad had escaped unharmed.

On 28 September 2018 a 7.5 magnitude quake struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, bringing down buildings and severing communication networks. In some areas the ground turned to liquid as a tsunami swept through towns and villages. Eye witnesses described whole buildings sinking into the ground.

More than 4,300 people were killed and many more lost homes and livelihoods.

After the earthquake, Rudi and his dad had no choice but to live in a tent made of tarpaulin sheets next to their collapsed home.

Swift response
In the following days Tearfund partner MDS made a rapid assessment of the area to prioritise people in most need. More than 90 per cent of the houses in Rudi’s district were damaged, many of them completely destroyed.

Rudi’s family were given materials including wood, nails and hammers, as well as technical support to build a new home. To help it withstand any further quakes, MDS taught them to add a metal plate on each corner of the house to strengthen the foundation.

Rudi standing outside his new home (Photo: Serena Suen/Tearfund)

‘The most satisfying part was putting the roof on,’ said Rudi. ‘I now want to expand the house and decorate the inside to make it more homely.’

Supported by the prayers and gifts of people like you, we’ve worked with a number of partners to respond to the Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami. So far, this response has included:

  • Cash assistance for 521 families, helping them meet their daily needs
  • Food, water filters and hygiene kits for 400 families
  • 16 communal latrines, benefiting 250 households
  • Clean drinking water for 20,000 people across ten evacuation sites in the aftermath of the earthquake
  • Mobile health clinics to meet the urgent medical needs of people living in camps in the weeks following the quake
  • Ongoing construction of shelter for 278 families.

Please pray

Father God,

Thank you for Rudi and his family. We praise you for keeping them safe during the devastating earthquake and tsunami which hit Indonesia last year. And we rejoice that Rudi has been able to build a new home. Please continue to help our partners in Indonesia as they reach out to those whose lives and livelihoods have been affected.

In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

* Name changed for security reasons

Andrew Horton

Andrew is Online News and Film Editor for Tearfund. This involves finding and writing up inspiring articles for the website, and capturing compelling stories on video.