Distributing aid for flash flood survivors in Lembata, Indonesia

7 APRIL 2021

Extreme weather including flash flooding, landslides and tropical cyclones, has swept across Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara Province (NTT) since Saturday 3 April and could have devastating consequences if it continues.

Badly damaged building caused by the extreme weather conditions.
Badly damaged building caused by the extreme weather conditions.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) warned that two more tropical cyclones could result in extreme weather until Friday 9 April, with risks of flash floods announced for the Kupang Regency, Kupang city, Timor Tengah Utara and Timor Tengah Selatan. 

In response to this, Plan International Indonesia has been moving swiftly to conduct a three day rapid needs assessment, to map the needs of affected communities in Lembata region where Plan International has been working since 2006. 

According to our assessment, at least 2,227 out of approximately 10,000 of our sponsored children (1,186 girls and 1,041 boys) and their families in the area have been affected by this series of disasters.

Mapping the needs of marginalised children

Dini Widiastuti, Executive Director of Plan International Indonesia, said: “Children, particularly from marginalised families, are the most vulnerable when a disaster occurs. In coordination with the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management and relevant agencies, we have been mapping their needs, particularly marginalised children and their families, then distributing aid to ensure they have access to basic essentials amid this disaster.” 

The current situation in East Nusa Tenggara, which includes blackouts, communication loss and roadblocks, has made it more difficult to distribute aid to communities. People are still on high alert as Mount Ili Lewotolok – which erupted last November – is still at level three of the country’s four-tiered alert system and Lembata Regency is classified in the orange zone, which indicates a medium-high level of risk of COVID-19 transmission in the area.

Elevenyear old, Ervin, spoke to the Plan International emergency response team in Lembata.

Ervin, 11, has been sleeping on the bare floor since the flash floods hit.
Ervin, 11, has been sleeping on the bare floor since the flash floods hit.

He said “We are in dire need of clothes, blankets and sleeping mats. When the night comes, we are shivering from the cold as we have to sleep on the bare floor.” 

As well as conducting the rapid needs assessment, the emergency response team has also been distributing initial aid to affected families. 105 emergency shelter kits comprised of mats and blankets, as well as 30 menstrual hygiene management kits, have been distributed to families in Lembata. Plan International adhered to the COVID-19 health protocols in its aid distribution, to ensure the health of citizens and humanitarian workers.

Cash grants for flood survivors

In parallel to the aid distribution, Plan International Indonesia has also been carrying out a fundraising campaign through the online platform, kitabisa.com, to raise funds for our response. The money will be distributed in the form of cash grants to flood survivors in East Nusa Tenggara, based on the rapid needs assessment.