Six months ago a massive earthquake and tsunami hit large areas of Indonesia. Over 4,000 people were killed, families lost everything overnight and whole communities were displaced from their homes.
Tearfund’s Humanitarian Support Officer Serena Suen headed to the island of Sulawesi, where she saw the devastation first hand. She also saw how money raised by Tearfund supporters is being put to great use.
‘It was a devastating sight when I first arrived in Sulawesi. What was clear was that the island had effectively been hit by three disasters – and they all came in rapid succession.
‘First there was the earthquake which destroyed buildings and infrastructure, including roads and bridges. This was going to make our work harder, clearly.
‘Then the island was quickly struck by a major tsunami which flooded large areas of it. Finally though, there was liquefaction: that’s when the ground behaves like a liquid – having been broken up and waterlogged. It no longer supports buildings or people.
‘We visited a community in Petobo and there wasn’t a house left standing because of liquefaction. We were told that people who weren’t able to run away in time were also sucked into the ground. I could see wooden crosses marking the locations where people were buried.’