accessibility & help

Mursida’s story: the children are traumatised

Woman sits on step with young son© InfoMursida Sitambang, 38, from Cubudakair village in Indonesia was at home with her youngest child when the earthquake hit.

“I panicked as I felt the earth start to move, but I grabbed my son and ran out of the house,” she said. “Two seconds later it collapsed – I just made it out in time. But I was also scared for my family because I didn’t know where my husband and my three other children were.”

Thankfully, Mursida’s family were safe and unharmed, but Mursida’s four-year-old son hasn’t spoken since the quake. She is worried he’s been traumatised by what happened.

Health problems

Mursida lives just north of Pariaman City. It is one of the worst-affected areas, where the Indonesia Red Cross has sent a mobile health clinic. “Since the earthquake none of my children have been well,” she said: “They are sick and cough and especially my youngest, he is silent all the time.

“The local health clinic collapsed and there is no other option for us, so when I heard the Red Cross were coming I felt relieved. We have had no other help and the Red Cross are the first outsiders who have come to this village.”

Most districts in Indonesia have local community health centres, where people can get medicines and minor surgery, often for free. One of the worst impacts of the earthquake is the destruction of many of these clinics, leaving communities with no access to healthcare at a time when they need it most. The Red Cross has a medical team travelling by helicopter to reach villages cut off by the earthquake and resulting landslides.

Makeshift shelter

After the earthquake, Mursida’s husband, Rifanil, began to construct a makeshift shelter for the family from the debris, but with the heavy rains it is not enough.

“When it rains, the children get wet and now they are sick,” said Rifanil. “My brother was supposed to get married today, but there is no hope of that now. I don’t know when we’ll be able to organise weddings again.”

Mursida said: “The earthquake took everything, our home and our business, which was a small shop outside our house, and I don’t know what we will do now. Everything is gone.”

Read Mr Bambang's story