Lombok the island next to Bali has mountains and beaches and the beauty masks poverty. Oxfam has been working with local partners and the district government to prepare communities to respond to the natural disasters that occur – floods, mudslides, volcanic eruptions
We visited the village of Belanting about a two hour drive from the capital Mataram, at the foot of an active volcano, the village is next to a small river which provides a good water supply for its crops.
We are met enthusiastically by a team of mainly young men and women, dressed with heavy boots and carrying knapsacks – they are the village emergency response team, they watch for potential disasters, alert the villagers when they have to evacuate and lead and manage the response along with key members of local government.
They told us about the events last year, when it had been raining for 3 days and 3 nights – there was an early warning alert from the village high up in the mountains that the rivers were rising and could reach them soon – the mustered the teams – some gathered and monitored information, the logistics team made sure everyone was ready, they alerted the local communities to the need to come to higher ground, bringing with them some (but of course not all) their belongings
At the muster station they were already pitching the big Red Cross tent, to protect people from the cold of night and house the sick and elderly – the teams are trained in basic first aid and can care for people until their can get proper medical assistance. The community lost 2 people during the flash floods and the emergency response team said they practice their skills so that no-one will be lost again.