Earthquake in Indonesia
On November 21, 2022, a 5.6 magnitude earthquake hit the Cianjur region, located on the west coast of Indonesia’s Java Island. The earthquake was particularly deadly with a shallow epicenter of 6.2 miles deep. Records showed a minimum of 140 aftershocks by November 23. Search and rescue attempts have occurred so that people can locate their loved ones. This is an earthquake that will undoubtedly have an immense effect on poverty for Indonesia already has 9.5% of its population living in poverty as of March 2022. This article will be laying out what the effects of the earthquake in Indonesia are presently and will be in the future as well as the initiatives already in place to help mitigate the damage.

The Damage

As a result of the earthquake in Indonesia, more than 73,800 people have experienced displacement due to the destruction of more than 22,000 buildings. Many of the people displaced have been moved to shelters, providing temporary medical assistance, food, water and a place to stay. On the other hand, some are staying outside near their homes as they look for missing loved ones. The earthquake damaged 63,219 houses in Cianjur, and of that number, the earthquake seriously damaged 26,237. Due to this, citizens will not have a secure place to call home nor have a stable income with unemployment since the earthquake destroyed workplaces or caused injuries.

Furthermore, children have accounted for a third of the approximate 310 killed. Many children were in lessons when the earthquake hit leading to questions about the best way to reconstruct schools so they can withstand earthquakes. University of Indonesia Engineering professor Widjojo Prakoso stated that “School buildings should get special attention because they are not only supposed to withstand earthquakes, but they should also act as temporary shelter during disasters.” Indonesia’s biggest challenge regarding education has been to improve quality instead of access, with the Indonesian Government hoping to develop a world-class education system by 2025. However, the Indonesia earthquake is likely to halt, or at least delay these efforts. The earthquake damaged 142 school buildings, resulting in the need for repairs so that people can access them.

The Impact of the Earthquake on Poverty

A natural disaster as severe as the Indonesia earthquake will undoubtedly have a long-term impact on poverty in the country. As aforementioned, poverty is at 9.5% based on the national poverty line, which means that a significant proportion of the country lives in impoverished circumstances. Indonesia’s location as a hotspot for natural disasters has an impact on poverty as infrastructure is very difficult to build and maintain. This earthquake will add to the already high amounts of economic pressure facing the country.

Places that are more economically stable are able to prepare and build infrastructure according to their geography in relation to vulnerability to natural hazards, but for nations such as Indonesia, this proves to be harder. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has committed to ensuring that all damaged homes are rebuilt so they are earthquake-resistant. However, considering that 43% of Indonesia’s population live in rural areas and in poorly constructed homes, this is a huge feat to tackle. 

The earthquake has affected stability, both economically and mentally. Yayasan CARE Peduli Humanitarian and Emergency Response Manager Renee Manoppo stated that “The community remains traumatized and fearful of reentering their homes – they will require a lot of support in the coming weeks, months and years.” 

Initiatives to Help

Victims of the Indonesia earthquake are already experiencing help through the implementation of numerous emergency funds, deployment of emergency response teams and the provision of resources. It has been proven time and time again that help from external nations at a time of crisis is vital in a country’s recovery and the need for this help is even more prominent in developing nations. Emergency funds collect donations to help damaged communities rebuild and recover. Immediate needs require monetary support from organizations for things such as medical supplies, food, water, tents and other temporary shelters, fuel and personnel. In order to help the rescue efforts, the Indonesian Red Cross has already mobilized items including 13 personnel, 800 hygiene kits, 20,000 medical masks and 300 mattresses 

Looking Ahead

The earthquake in Indonesia will likely have long-term effects. However, it is the above efforts that will help them along this long road to recovery.

Ruby Wallace
Photo: Flickr