On 4 April , Tropical Cyclone Seroja hit Indonesia and East Timor. It was a devastating event for our three local partners in Eastern Indonesia – Lua Lemba, PEKKA NTT and the Nefo Ko’u Farmers Cooperative. Torrential rains triggered flash floods and landslides that washed out roads and bridges and damaged infrastructure. Houses were destroyed, as was PEKKA NTT’s community centre on Lembata Island. Ibu Dete from PEKKA NTT shared “flash floods occurred in Adonara and Lembata and the Pekka Lembata centre was buried by rocks and sand. Likewise, the houses of residents and PEKKA women”. Tragically over 130 people were killed in Indonesia, including one of the women involved in PEKKA NTT’s collectives.
The impacts of the cyclone are still being felt today as the communities we work with rebuild. In May, Pak Onny from Lua Lemba shared “We are still in a state that is not normal, the electric lights are still out until now, the internet network has not been smooth due to the storm of the scary cyclone. Many houses were damaged. We do not know the conditions in other NTT areas because we are still isolated, there is no reachable means of communication.”
We have remained in close contact with our partners since the cyclone and have passed on the thoughts and solidarity of our team and supporters in Australia. We are also supporting Lua Lemba and PEKKA NTT with additional funding for emergency response and recovery activities.
Lua Lemba is using the additional funds on Rote Island to meet needs of the most vulnerable and impacted community members, including emergency food supplies of rice and sugar, and building materials to repair and rebuild damaged buildings. PEKKA NTT has used additional funds to purchase good quality tents that they have been distributing to women heads of household on Adonara and Lembata Islands as temporary accommodation and for PEKKA NTT collectives to work out of. We are also boosting the funds we are sending to PEKKA NTT to help them repair damage done to the network of women-run cooperative gardens.