A number of powerful earthquakes hit the Indonesian island of Lombok in late July 2018. A 6.9 magnitude tremor on 29 July 2018 triggered panic and was also felt on the neighbouring island of Bali. The most severe earthquake occurred on 19 August 2018 with a 7.0 magnitude. At least five large earthquakes of magnitude greater than 6.0 and numerous aftershocks were recorded.
The total number of deaths as of August 21, 2018 is 548 and about 430,000 people are reported to be homeless with thousands injured, mostly children and the elderly.
Thousands of victims are sheltered in camps. On account of fear, many people sleep in tents in front of their houses.
The SSIO of Indonesia, assisted by local volunteers immediately supported the relief efforts, where possible. The Bali SSIO Rescue Team helped the government and other NGOs. Sathya Sai volunteers worked round the clock to ensure that the victims received food, medicine, trauma counselling and other immediate needs.
One particular village could not be reached by government officials due to its remote location. The houses in this village were destroyed but the villagers stayed back because they did not have any place to go. SSIO volunteers set up a kitchen for this village and the SSIO adopted this village for long-term rehabilitation.
Since the earthquakes, the volunteers from SSIO Rescue, from different islands in Indonesia, including Sathya Sai Young Adults and the ladies are assisting the victims of the natural disaster wherever possible. Thousands of victims are still in camps requiring food, health services, logistical support, trauma counselling as well as SSEHV (Sathya Sai Education in Human Values) classes for children.
Since 30 July 2018, the SSIO Council Indonesia has assisted with tents, blankets, mineral water, rice, diapers, and clothing to various villages in East Lombok, North Lombok and West Lombok – benefitting hundreds of families.
The village of Jeliman Ireng, North Lombok has been adopted for long-term assistance by the SSIO Council of Indonesia.
A public kitchen was built for the affected population. SSIO lady members, mostly seniors, helped to cook food for the needy.
In addition to the public kitchen, the SSIO along with the residents worked together to build six public bathrooms, install pipes and water reservoirs. Some tents were also made available for prayers, since their Vihara (temple for Buddhists) was completely destroyed.
Health services have also been carried out with the help of local medical teams, SSIO Rescue team and volunteers from the Sathya Sai Centre in Lombok.
These services are being offered across Lombok with a focus on treating common injuries following a disaster and regular health check-ups. Wheelchairs have been provided to some of the elderly and disabled people, following the earthquakes.
Sathya Sai Education in Human Values (SSEHV) classes were provided in several camps for children suffering from post-traumatic stress following the destruction of their homes, schools and neighbourhoods. The SSEHV activities are handled in various camps and villages by the Young Adults from various regions, including Bali and Java.
Emphasising the five human values of love, truth, peace, nonviolence, and righteousness, children are taught to share and accept each other – even though they may profess different religions or come from different tribes. The children are very enthusiastic about these activities.