Another Lesson Learned: Don’t Forget the Basics

CWS Indonesia | August 26, 2019

Sarini and her daughters with their new WASH kit. Photo: CWS

Adapting to life after a natural disaster is a struggle. For people like Sarini the struggle isn’t just coping with the huge loss of her house and livelihood. It’s also the struggle to meet basic needs day in and day out.

Immediately after last September’s earthquake, tsunami and land liquefaction disaster in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, the Indonesian government and many non-government organizations alongside other aid partners and donors moved into action. An estimated 200,000-plus people needed essential aid, staring with water and shelter, both of which CWS helped deliver. Another huge need – to prevent or lessen health and hygiene risks – was for soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and paste, plus detergents, towels and buckets with lids for water storage. For adolescent girls and women, sanitary pads are a key need. And, CWS tried to ensure the early and continuing supply of these essentials to hundreds of families.

As the early response weeks dragged on to months, CWS staff recognized that sanitation and hygiene supplies are still needed by families like Sarini’s who have yet to start recovering their livelihoods so they can buy their own soap and detergent. So, in response to Sarini’s situation, 1,500 more consumable “kits” were distributed in June and July. As with Diana and her new respect for water, Sarini has a new appreciation for soap, too. Now she can wash her children, and their clothes. Her children have new toothbrushes and more toothpaste, which is actually quite expensive in the market. Families still struggle day-to-day and there is less outside help. Noting this, Sarini said, “I am most grateful that my family and I are still alive. I am grateful too for CWS help”.

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