Clean water access desperately needed for Earthquake recovery
Just 250 meters (275 yards) from the white beaches of Lombok, Indonesia you will find the remnants of the once small but mighty village of Teluk Nara. For the nearly 1,200 people who survived the multitude of earthquakes that leveled the island of Lombok in 2018, there is a commitment to rebuild, but they are facing the challenges of nature and the declining economic prosperity they once enjoyed. Water access in this community is similar to comparable locations on the island – sharing wells that remain intact, but are contaminated and provide little value other than quenching thirst at the risk of illness.
Water is boiled in small batches when the woman of the house has the luxury of time between rebuilding, caring for children, cooking and collecting water. Once stable buildings and infrastructure are no longer standing and rubble lines the dirt roads. In a cruel paradox, their future is as uneven and treacherous as the roads they travel.
Desma Fadhila, a nine-year-old student of SND 6 Malaka hopes for change to come soon, but is realistic. Desma frames her situation as, “I always bring water from home because my school doesn't have access to clean water. Sometimes, one bottle of water from the house is insufficient and I have to endure my thirst until I go home. At home, I also use water from wells because I do not have access to water that is suitable for drinking. I really want to have school access to clean water so that I do not need to hold back thirst when the water reserves I bring from home are gone and my mother can easily come to school to take refill water without having to reduce daily spending money.”
The cost of bottled water is prohibitive now that most of the village is unemployed and families dedicate whatever remaining funds they have to purchase food or slowly rebuild their homes. For the once proudly-employed artisans, beach workers and vegetable traders, economic prosperity is such a distant concept when living day-to-day. “My income is small. I have four children that I have to earn for every day,” said Lukman, a 42-year-old community member. "Every three days my wife needs money to buy refill water for our need to drink water at home. Since the earthquake in my village, the water suddenly has changed color and sometimes smells. At home, we do not have access to clean water that can be used for daily needs. Hopefully in the future, with access to clean water at school, it can help my family to reduce costs in daily life because business is now very difficult here.”