Where: Lombok, Indonesia
Project: Hunger relief, disaster relief
Amidst the lush green rice fields and dreamy beaches lays the devastating remains from the recent earthquakes that hit Lombok, Indonesia. Luxury resorts have been abandoned, restaurants and shops left in shambles and homes crumbled to the ground in many communities of the surrounding region. Everywhere you look, men and women alike are working to restore their damaged homes and businesses. What was once a growing center for tourism has now been left for the community to rebuild and start over again.
Lombok is one of the 17,000 islands that form the country of Indonesia. It is directly east of Bali, separated by the Lombok Strait and home to over 3 million people. On August 5, 2018, a 7.0 earthquake hit North Lombok Regency taking 563 lives and leaving 417,000 people homeless. It is the deadliest earthquake in the southeastern archipelago of the Indonesian islands since 1992. At least 80% of all structures in the region were either damaged or destroyed and the neighboring islands of Bali and Sumbawa were also affected. In the aftermath of the earthquake, locals setup makeshift camps for those left homeless. While there were several thousand people displaced in the surrounding regencies, the epicenter of the earthquake in North Lombok relocated nearly 199,000 people of their 215,000 residents to refugee camps – close to 93% of the population.
The government provided aid immediately after the earthquake, however, they pulled out of assistance before the communities were fully recovered. There was a shortage of non-perishable foods and a lack of blankets and tents. Several foreign governments such as Taiwan and Spain and even the European Union donated thousands of dollars in aid to the victims.
A young boy smiling for the camera despite losing his home.
Family in Rempek grateful for our donations.
Elemental Affairs arrived in Lombok four months after the earthquake, and we still saw a lot of villages with damaged structures waiting to be rebuilt. We teamed up with a few local nonprofits, mainly Team Action AMED and Indonesia Aid, to receive insight and donate supplies that were still scarce in the affected areas. We visited the communities of Rempek and Sokong, and provided non-perishable items such as rice, noodles, cooking oil, canned foods, long shelf-life milk and essentials including soap, toothbrushes, clothes and feminine hygiene products. From our donation, we provided over 1,500 meals and made a lasting memory with the locals. Upon our arrival, before they knew we were there to provide aid, we were welcomed by smiling faces and waves all around. The people in the shaken communities were simply excited to spend time with us and share a connection.
This has been an incredibly humbling experience and we are so honored to have helped those desperately in need. We experienced tremors throughout our visit to Lombok and understand that this part of the world is very susceptible to natural disasters. If you’d like to contribute, please feel free to reach out directly with our partners or we’d be happy to connect you.