As the worlds fourth most populated country and with soaring levels of poverty, many communities remain incredibly vulnerable – especially in times of disaster. An economic crisis throughout Indonesia in 1998 resulted in mass unemployment, with entire families suffering. Over the last ten years, Indonesia has since witnessed extensive economic growth. However, with ongoing high levels of poverty, 19.4 million people cannot meet their nutritional needs. This is particularly true in rural areas, where 14.3% of people are living below the poverty line.
With high food prices, insecure access to food and the constant threat of natural disasters, many families long for financial security and stability. Lacking sufficient access to clean water and sanitation, diseases such as avian flu and dengue fever, carried by mosquitos, also spread quickly.
Life is challenging for many people across Indonesia:
- Almost 1 in 4 women of reproductive age are anaemic (UN World Food Programme, 2017)
- Over a third of children under the age of 5 suffer from stunting (UN World Food Programme, 2017)
- Over 34% of the population rely upon agriculture for a living (UN Statistics Division, 2017)
- For every 1,000 babies born, 23 will die before they reach their 1st birthday (Asian Development Bank, 2015)
Islamic Relief in Indonesia
Islamic Relief has been working in Indonesia since 2000, implementing relief projects such as in the aftermath of the tsunami, and development projects, such as rebuilding the Lhong Raya hospital and Suak Pandan Elementary School, as well as installing bamboo pipe water systems – this natural material is heat-resistant, making it perfect for Indonesia’s tropical climate.
Having a permanent base in Indonesia meant we were able to respond to the 2004 tsunami the very next day. Our immediate and extensive, far reaching response, distributing food, medicine, tents and hygiene supplies, received recognition from the UN and Indonesian Government. After the tsunami, we reconstructed entire villages, housing as well as other critical public buildings, and we are currently working to resettle people in sustainable housing along with access to healthcare, education, clean water and livelihood support.
Later, in 2006 and 2009, when destructive earthquakes struck Indonesia, we responded within hours, distributing emergency supplies, and once again committing to rebuild key infrastructure and establish public services.