Staff Feature: Responding to Emergencies in Indonesia

Humans of Adventism is featuring 4 stories of ADRA staff working within the Asia region and their experiences living through and responding to emergencies.

Whenever there is a disaster that ADRA decides to respond to, I am one of the first to be deployed to the field. I have been serving at ADRA since August 2007, and I am currently a member of their emergency response team in Indonesia. Rapid needs assessment is urgently needed during the first 24 hours of a disaster so that we can assist survivors according to their needs.

Disaster preparedness is very important. You can’t eliminate the threat of some disasters, but with preparedness, we can mitigate and reduce their impacts. By building self, family, and community preparedness, we will save more lives.

Indonesia is one of the countries with the greatest disaster intensity in the world. Various types of disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and flash floods can all occur within the span of a single year. I saw with my own eyes the enormity of the earthquake and tsunami that occurred. It destroyed and shattered everything. Meeting those who had lost their relatives in tents or in the refugee barracks really impacted me personally.

I remember one day I was interviewing with one of the disaster survivors. Our attention was briefly caught by a small child, about four years old, who was happily playing and running around. An older woman came out of a tent and took the boy back into the tent with her. I didn’t ask who they were, but the man I was interviewing then explained that the little boy had lost his father, his pregnant mother, and his five uncles. All that was left of his family were him, his aunt, and his grandmother. I learned the value of building good relationships with our fellow family members at every opportunity that day – we don’t know when we will lose them.

On one occasion, I interviewed a woman whose task was to record the incoming aid that was being distributed in the community. After a few questions, I asked her how she was feeling at the time. She just looked at me blankly with a smile and said, ‘I can’t cry anymore. My tears are dry and gone. All I can do right now is help other people to survive through this crisis.’ Hearing her answer silenced me. I began to shed tears. I admired her. Even though she was in a slump she was still willing to serve those in need.

These experiences changed my perspective. They taught me that human life is fragile and temporary. God wants us to be a channel of blessing to those who are in need. We can help in any way we can to lighten their load. No matter how small the help we provide, it will have a positive impact on them.

Written By: Ralfie, ADRA Indonesia

Original post by Humans of Adventism: HERE

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