Loading

Bangga Bangkit When floods destroyed a village in Indonesia, UNFPA was ready to help.

On April 28 this year the village of Bangga, in the mountains of Sulawesi, Indonesia, suffered massive floods and landslides so bad that every single house in the village became uninhabitable. 700 families were left homeless. 'Bangga Bangkit' means 'Bangga, rise up,' words that could be heard all over the village as the cleanup took place.

A man assesses the damage to his home.

This was in the same part of Indonesia where a series of earthquakes, a tsunami and liquefaction of the earth killed more than 4,000 people and displaced around 200,000 in September 2018. Thankfully, no-one was killed this time, and there were only minor injuries.

A man sits on the roof of his house, which is now several metres underground. He returned from work to find his house like this.

The United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, was immediately in contact with the provincial government to see what help was needed. Staff went to Bangga to conduct an assessment.

UNFPA staff join a cart drawn by cows to get through the mud.

The road had been completely covered in mud, and only 4WDs, motorbikes and carts could make it to the town.

The Government had decided that it was not safe for people to be around the buildings, as many had collapsed. The Police were sent in to manage the demolition of what was left of the buildings.

Police work on a house where the mud has almost reached the roof line.

For UNFPA's Youth in Emergencies Officer, Vivien, the flooding meant that there were an unknown number of young people who were now homeless, and potentially cut off from the services that they need. She was on the phone, and talking to as many people as possible, to try to get an accurate number of young people affected.

For the people of Palu, the provincial capital that was largely destroyed last year, this crisis reminded them of the hard time they had experienced. Thousands of people took up collections at shops and on the streets and collected food, clothing, medicine and cash for the people of Bangga.

Thousands of people from Palu brought items or money they'd collected, rented trucks, and volunteered their time to help out the people who had been affected.

A temporary camp was set up by the government where the people from the village could access whatever they needed.

Young men from Bangga left with nothing try on new clothes that have been donated.

Despite the generosity of the people of Palu, there are often issues that are overlooked. In any emergency, there will be women who are pregnant, and babies don't take any notice of their mother's living arrangements when they decide it's time to be born. For UNFPA, top priority is ensuring that women can give birth safely, and receive the medical help they need.

Women walk past a collapsed house in Bangga's main street.

UNFPA has been working closely with the Government of Indonesia and the Australian Government to ensure that when a crisis like this happens, pregnant women are not left to give birth in dirty or unsafe environments. The Regional Prepositioning Initiative, developed by UNFPA and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is about making sure the things that are needed - from medical equipment and temporary hospital tents, to clean towels, sheets, sanitary pads and even underwear - get to the people who need them as quickly as possible. It's also about ensuring the human resources are there - trained midwives who can help women even in the midst of a crisis.

Midwives attend training organised by UNFPA before being deployed to their posts.

UNFPA's midwives have a different job to a midwife in a regular hospital. They're out on motorbikes, visiting women at home or in the temporary camps, identifying pregnant women and collecting data, giving family planning advice and administering contraceptives. The midwives in Bangga already knew the pregnant women who had been affected by the floods, and knew that they needed help after having to leave their homes. UNFPA's Logistics Officer, Allam Amin, contacted the provincial health department to propose a distribution of Ibu Hamil kits, or Pregnant Mother kits. They were happy to make this happen as soon as possible.

Bangga's midwives are often sent to remote locations to help women at their homes. Midwives are available 24/7.

Through the Regional Prepositioning Initiative, UNFPA had Ibu Hamil kits ready to go in the warehouse in Jakarta. The next day they were flown to Palu, ready to be distributed in Bangga.

Allam Amin, UNFPA Logistics Officer, gets ready for the distribution. The kits are loaded into an ambulance for the journey.

The flooding had divided the village in two, and a river had formed. The ambulance wasn't able to make it through the river, so help was offered by a local man with a tractor.

Midwives and UNFPA staff jumped on the tractor and made their way to the other side of the village.

Dozens of pregnant women had been stranded, and they were worried about their own health and that of their babies.

The midwife explained what was in the Ibu Hamil kits, and how they could get in touch with a midwife at any time of day or night.

Ibu Hamil kits have a range of essential items for women, as well as extra clothing. The kits are developed in consultation with women, and contain only locally-procured products. The items are different in each country, to adapt to different cultural norms.

UNFPA wants to ensure the best chance for all women and girls, and the Regional Prepositioning Initiative means that women and girls in emergencies get the help they need, when they need it.

UNFPA is the UN's sexual and reproductive health agency, working towards a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. UNFPA's work is guided by the 1994 ICPD Programme of Action, with rights and choices for all at the centre of sustainable development.

Credits:

Carly Learson/UNFPA

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a copyright violation, please follow the DMCA section in the Terms of Use.