Indonesia is made up of over 17,000 islands. It lies on volcanic fault lines, making it extremely prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, landslides and volcanic eruptions – such as the 2004 tsunami, which devastated a large area of one of the largest islands, Banda Aceh.
In addition to the devastating tsunami in 2004, Indonesia has traditionally suffered from health problems include avian flu and dengue fever, spread by mosquitoes, and a lack of access to clean water and sanitation. Additionally, in some provinces, political instability and unemployment continues to make life difficult for many Indonesians.
Islamic Relief has been working in Indonesia since 2000, implementing relief projects such as in the aftermath of the tsunami, and development projects, such as rebuilding the Lhong Raya hospital and Suak Pandan Elementary School, as well as installing bamboo pipe water systems – this natural material is heat-resistant, making it perfect for Indonesia’s tropical climate.
Having a permanent base in Indonesia meant we were able to respond to the 2004 tsunami the very next day. Our immediate and extensive, far reaching response, distributing food, medicine, tents and hygiene supplies, received recognition from the UN and Indonesian Government. After the tsunami, we reconstructed entire villages, housing as well as other critical public buildings, and we are currently working to resettle people in sustainable housing along with access to healthcare, education, clean water and livelihood support.
Later, in 2006 and 2009, when destructive earthquakes struck Indonesia, we responded within hours, distributing emergency supplies, and once again committing to rebuild key infrastructure and establish public services.