S’pore Red Cross to give $69K for West Java earthquake relief; domestic helpers offer to help

More than 22,000 homes were destroyed by the quake and over 1,000 people were injured. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Red Cross has pledged US$50,000 (S$69,000) to support survivors and communities affected by the 5.6 magnitude earthquake that hit West Java on Monday, killing 271 people and displacing more than 58,000 residents.

The aid will focus on the immediate needs of those affected, including food, emergency shelter, water, hygiene items and first aid, said the Singapore Red Cross on Wednesday.

The earthquake hit the city of Cianjur south of Jakarta, where livelihoods depend on small and medium enterprises around local wear and products.

More than 22,000 homes were destroyed by the quake and over 1,000 people were injured.

Many of the those killed were children attending school at the time of the earthquake. The natural disaster also triggered a landslide at a hillside in Cugenang, a district in Cianjur. Locals said the landslide swept away dozens of houses.

Singapore Red Cross secretary general and chief executive Benjamin William said: “We are saddened to hear about the lives that have been lost by the earthquake, especially of the many children. We are working closely with the Palang Merah Indonesia (Indonesian Red Cross) to support their relief and emergency teams that have been deployed to the front lines.”

He added that Red Cross personnel continue to respond amid landslides, electricity and telecommunications disruptions.

“The Singapore Red Cross will continue to assess the situation, and stands ready to deploy our responders to support the relief efforts,” he said.

While Monday’s quake could be considered low in magnitude, it was shallow at 10km and hence more damaging than deeper quakes. It also struck a populated area, resulting in high casualties.

Other local organisations and Indonesian domestic workers here are trying to help with disaster relief and fund raising.

Local aid agency Mercy Relief is currently applying for a fund-raising permit from the Commissioner of Charities.

Its International Programmes department’s assistant manager Alex Park said Mercy Relief is working with an Indonesian organisation to send necessities to affected communities in Cianjur.

“In the next few days, we will be sending a team which will link up with our partner in Indonesia for relief distribution,” he added.

Foreign domestic worker Lilik Sulisminingsih, who hails from Surabaya in East Java, said she has received circulating WhatsApp messages, with requests for monetary aid and necessities to be sent to the affected region.

Items requested for the displaced include sleeping pads, blankets, milk, raincoats and food.

She was also sent videos of destroyed neighbourhoods in Cianjur, of families outside their flattened homes, and of children crying.

Ms Lilik, 46, said she and her foreign domestic worker friends here try to send some money back to their home country to help whenever disaster strikes.

“My friend, who was a helper, returned to Indonesia a while ago. She is from Semarang, but is now helping victims at Cianjur. She asked us for our help,” she said.

Correction note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct spelling for Palang Merah Indonesia. We are sorry for the error.

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