While the following statement refers to the human rights situation in Lombok, our call on the Indonesian government is valid also in relation to the dire situation in Sulawesi Island following the eartquake on September 28, 2018.

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Last summer a devastating string of earthquakes and aftershocks struck the Indonesian island of Lombok, causing extensive loss of lives and widespread destruction. In few seconds entire villages have been reduced to rubble, together with the livelihoods of their residents.

The weakness of the emergency response and the lack of adequate disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness strategies, led to a veritable humanitarian crisis in the region. While the authorities lifted the state of emergency on August 25th, in many areas people are still in urgent need of shelters, blankets, mats, food, clean water and access to basic service such as sanitation and health care. Moreover, spending weeks in makeshift tents, often overcrowded, is taking its toll on people health. The dire situation of the earthquake’s survivors, and in particularly of the IDPs, is likely to get worse in the coming weeks due to the impending rainy season.

Peasants and other people living in poor rural areas have been disproportionally affected by the disaster. Primarily dependent on rain-fed agriculture for their basic nutrition intake and with limited if not inexistent financial assets, they were struggling to meet their basic needs even before the earthquake. Now they are totally dependent on external relief and they survive only thanks to charity and the help of volunteers. Recovery efforts risk to perpetuate and even reinforce pre-existing vulnerabilities and patterns of discrimination.

States have the obligation to do everything within their power to mitigate the negative consequences of natural hazards. It is urgent to address the needs of the most vulnerable. Poverty and exclusion are not natural disasters, but the result of deliberate policies which need to be urgently amended.

IADL urges the government of Indonesia to comply with its international obligations and commitments and therefore:

  • to take immediate action to ensure that human rights principles are integrated into disaster response, including in the phases of recovery and reconstruction;

  • to provide equal access to humanitarian relief and reconstruction assistance to all affected communities without any discrimination;

  • to protect the right of all earthquakes’ victims to an adequate standard of living including adequate food, water, sanitation, housing, as well as the right to education and to the highest attainable standard of health;

  • to guarantee due transparency in all phases of the disaster management, in order to ensure public scrutiny and accountability in the distribution of aid;

  • to rebuild housing and public infrastructures to higher standards of safety in order to minimize disaster risk and helps soften the fear and trauma of survivors;

  • to ensure that the rights of peasants and other people living in rural areas, are fully taken into consideration in the post-earthquake reconstruction plans. Restoring their livelihoods, including by providing them with adequate irrigation systems, access to affordable seeds and fertilizers should be a priority;

  • to adopt and to implement without delay policies to eradicate poverty, which is a major determinant of the population’s vulnerability to natural disasters, and to foster development also in order to contribute to minimize disaster risks.

September 18, 2018

PDF: Lombok GD4

Bahasa Indonesia Version: Lombok GD bahasa