Huntara (temporary shelters) where 24 families live temporarily in the area of Masjid Al-Firdaus, Cugenang, Cianjur Regency (Photographed by: Fareez Eldacca)
JATINANGOR, Warta Kema – It’s been ten months since the Cianjur Earthquake on Monday, November 21 2022, which resulted in thousands of houses being damaged and hundreds of people being killed. Until now, the refugees still have to survive with challenging living conditions, especially for the vulnerable groups who need extra care and support.
Despite the passage of time, the impact of the Cianjur Earthquake still resonates strongly with the refugees. Some of them have tried to move on and rebuild their homes with the help of the community, volunteers, government, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), while others are still struggling with the material, physical, and emotional impact.
Two of the many survivors of the Cianjur Earthquake who still hold status as refugees are Dian Dariyah (42) and Nenty Kurniati (30). They have been living in the shelters since November 2022 because their house is still uninhabitable due to the damages caused by the earthquake and is currently under repair. Dian and Nenty explain their challenge to Warta Kema on (24/07).
“When we first came into the evacuation shelter, the kids (who live in the shelter) were sick, and we were also sick. When it rained, it flooded. When it’s hot, we’re burning up. But oh well, what else can we do,” said Dian.
Dian, Nenty, and their families live in a proper tent, but some shelters are made of wood, used banners, and tarpaulin in the area of Masjid Al-Firdaus, Cugenang, Cianjur Regency. According to Dian, there were also shelters filled with two families due to a lack of space.
Refugees in the shelters continue to grapple with challenging living conditions. Access to necessities, including clean water, sanitation facilities, and healthcare services, remains limited. The situation is particularly dire for vulnerable groups such as women, pregnant women, the elderly, children, and those with disabilities who require extra care and support.
HWDI Cianjur continues to assist disabled earthquake survivors
Head of Dewan Pimpinan Cabang (DPC) Himpunan Wanita Disabilitas Indonesia (HWDI) Cianjur, Ela Nurlaela, provided assistance in the form of daily necessities to survivors of the Cianjur Earthquake who have disabilities. (Source: HWDI Cianjur)
Head of Dewan Pimpinan Cabang (DPC) Himpunan Wanita Disabilitas Indonesia (HWDI) Cianjur, Ela Nurlaela, said that refugees with disabilities still require support in meeting their fundamental needs, such as housing and economic stability.
Ela highlighted that these refugees are particularly vulnerable due to their limited mobility and physical challenges.
“Moreover, those who have new disabilities (disabilities due to yesterday’s earthquake) or have multiple disabilities, were just physically normal and could still walk, but because they got hit by debris, they became paralyzed, helpless, and couldn’t do anything. In the meantime, access to their home environment does not support it at all,” she explained.
Ela admitted that initially, it was quite difficult for her party to find data on people with disabilities affected by the earthquake. This is because most people with disabilities flee to the homes of relatives or friends. Consequently, they are not registered as refugees by the government.
The lack of data also makes it difficult for people with disabilities to obtain their rights as earthquake survivors and refugees. Therefore, HWDI Cianjur, and several other NGOs, continue to assist.
“We are trying to coordinate with their families on their condition so that they are still recorded as survivors and get their rights,” Ela added.
Survivors of the Cianjur earthquake with disabilities are still fighting for their rights
Earthquakes significantly impacted many people, including individuals with disabilities, leaving them in a more vulnerable position than before.
Secretary of DPC HWDI Cianjur, Arni Yuniar, one of the persons with a disability who survived the earthquake, shared her story with Warta Kema on (07/08).
Arni has been physically disabled since she was two years old due to an accident. When the earthquake occurred, she was alone in her house in the Cipanas area, Cianjur Regency, which is not far from the earthquake’s epicenter.
“When the earthquake happened, I was pregnant,” said Arni.
Arni added that she lost her baby due to the trauma and stress caused by the earthquake. This had given her a hard time, but Arni admitted that thanks to the help of the community and HWDI, she could treat her post-disaster trauma.
“Because of them, my trauma was cured. I’m grateful to be still given health, even with this physical condition,” continued Arni.
Arni also talked about the assistance she received from HWDI and other non-governmental organizations. Because the earthquake’s impact on her was not materially significant, Arni only received assistance in the form of groceries.
In the meantime, according to her, earthquake survivors who are persons with new, old, or multiple disabilities still need further assistance mentally, physically, and economically from the government—especially those who are still living in refugee camps.
For example, Arni explained that bathroom facilities in evacuation shelters were not suitable for use by people with physical disabilities, the elderly, and pregnant women. These facilities lack accessibility features, such as grab bars or ramps, making it difficult for individuals with physical disabilities to use them safely and independently.
“In addition, the road is also not accessible, like sandy or slippery ground. Meanwhile, there is only one toilet in the shelters for all,” said Arni.
Volunteers from HWDI Cianjur checked the adequacy of bathrooms for refugees with disabilities, the elderly, and pregnant women. (Source: HWDI Cianjur)
One of Arni’s friends, who is a person with a new disability as a result of the earthquake, is still living in an uninhabitable refugee camp in Talaga, Cianjur Regency.
The tent’s location close to the rice fields makes it submerged in water when it rains and easy to collapse when strong winds come.
Refugees who live in the tent have also contracted skin diseases due to the unsafe and comfortable location of the tent.
Until now, Arni’s friend, who is a person with a new disability due to the earthquake, has not received assistance in the form of walking aids such as crutches, wheelchairs, or other assistive devices from the government, even though the HWDI had assisted with the data collection and submission since March 2023.
“The assistance should not be delayed, it should be accelerated,” closed Arni.
So far, HWDI Cianjur has recorded 423 persons with disabilities from 5 villages in Cianjur Regency, namely Talaga, Mangunkerta, Gasol, Nyalindung, and Ciputri Villages. Half of them do not have BPJS and one in three persons with disabilities affected by the Cianjur earthquake from the five villages still live in shelters.
HWDI Cianjur hopes that the government will pay more attention to earthquake survivors who are part of the vulnerable group. Although the Cianjur Earthquake has long passed, the victims affected have not fully recovered.
Reporter: Zulfa Salman, Fareez Eldacca
Editor: Jeania A. Malik