Rusmiati and her youngest daughter were at home when a series of powerful earthquakes struck north-western Indonesia.
“My daughter and I were selling yellow rice when the earthquake struck, while my husband and my old son were still working outside of the house.
“It was so strong. I thought that the whole world was going to be destroyed. My daughter and I were stuck in the house. I was sure that we would end up dead.
“I was very badly shaken and couldn’t stand up. Everything around me was shaking”, says Rusmiati, recalling the traumatic events of 28 September 2018.
One of the quakes, a 7.5 magnitude tremor, triggered a tsunami. Huge waves struck Palu city and other settlements, sweeping away homes and buildings. And soil liquefaction – a rare event in which the ground flows like liquid – submerged many buildings in mudflows.
Rusmiati witnessed the effects of this devastating second quake. It had destroyed half of Lolu village, damaging nearly every home in the village, and killing at least 26 villagers.
It also swept away their livelihoods, displaced thousands of villagers and crippled essential services.
Rusmiati, alongside her family and others members of the village, spent two weeks sleeping in the open under tarpaulin. They spent a further six months living in tents while their home was restored.
Islamic Relief provided lifesaving aid to survivors
In Sulawesi, our emergency teams gave out food, water, and hygiene kits as well as items like tarpaulin and blankets – reaching nearly 19,000 families.
We also provided special food for malnourished children and promoted good hygiene practices to stop the spread of disease.
In the months that followed the disaster, our focus turned to helping Sulawesi families to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.
Islamic Relief provided Rusmiati and her family with essential items such as blankets, hygiene kits and household tools and also helped to repair their home.
We’re continuing to restore lives in Indonesia
We run an Islamic microfinance scheme in Sulawesi which gives families cash to set up small enterprises, whilst a separate programme supports others to launch businesses cultivating mushrooms. Rusmiati’s family are part of the scheme, and were given cash to help them to reopen their yellow rice business.
With Islamic Relief’s support, Rusmiati and other women from her village have been able establish a mushroom cultivation group. This is providing them with a reliable source of income and has helped to restore their livelihoods.
As well as giving survivors the support they need to earn a living once more, Islamic Relief is rebuilding schools in Pakuli which were destroyed by the tsunami.
Two years after the harrowing events of the earthquake, we have supported those affected so that they are able to resume normal life. However, others still face uncertain futures. Through our recovery plan which focuses on supporting communities to build brighter futures, we are doing all we can to help them.
Our current projects in Indonesia include helping families to regain their livelihoods, and rebuilding local economies and industries. We also provide comprehensive disaster risk reduction training to schools, religious buildings, and communities.
We’re now on the ground and helping to combat the spread of Covid-19 as 250, 000 people have now tested positive for the virus. We’re providing thousands of face masks, food packs and other essential medical supplies to medical staff working on the frontline.