With Little Aid for Building Materials, Thousands of Homes in Sabu-Raijua Remain Cause for Concern

Roofs of residents’ homes in Sabu-Raijua remain exposed due to lack of roofing and nails, Photo: Ate Tunliu, UBB GMIT

SABUwww.sinodegmit.or.id, Twelve days after Cyclone Seroja damaged as many as 15,000 homes in the Sabu-Raijua Regency, distribution of government aid to residents including food and building materials has been minimal. 

Speaking to GMIT Moderator Rev. Mery Kolimon, Moderator of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI) Rev. Gomar Gultom, and chair of the Sabu-Raijua People’s Representative Assembly Paulus Rabe Tuka,  members of GMIT congregations in Ledeana, Rai Kore, Kota Logo, and Wagaa Ae reported that as of Saturday, 17 April 2021, two weeks after Cyclone Seroja struck their villages, they had yet to receive any aid from the government.

Chair of the Sabu-Raijua Peoples’s Assembly, Paulus Rabe Tuka, accompanies Rev. Mery Kolimon and Rev. Gomar Gultom on a visit to  residents affected by the storm

The only aid they had received up to now has been from the GMIT Disaster Response Team of West Sabu Presbytery and from other volunteers.

“We are in great need of building materials, especially tin roofing and nails.  Working together, we have already repaired many houses, but we are out of roofing materials and nails. So we ask of our government representative here today to speed up the delivery of aid, because if it rains again condition will be very difficult for us,” said Nimrod Djo Ha’u, a member of the GMIT fellowship of Wagaa Ae, West Sabu.

Responding to the residents, Rabe Tuka apologized for the delay.  He explained that the regional government had faced bureaucratic obstacles in the delivery of aid.

Cyclone Seroja left only the walls of the Talitakumi Raekore-West Sabu church

In addition there had been technical problems due to a cargo ship that had sunk in the harbor during the storm, preventing other ships from docking.

“We are presently coordinating with shipping companies, but the equipment needed to move the Cantika (the sunken ship) is still en route from Bitung [North Sulawesi]. As for food aid, I will immediately telephone the Regency’s aid post,” said Paulus.  ***

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