UPDATE: October 9, 2018
Hello everyone! My name is Lailaka Balfour. I am a Canadian woman married to an Indonesian man named Sadri. I am now on Lombok Island in Indonesia with my husband, his family, and our community living outside in the village. Thousands of people have lost their homes. Thousands more have severe structural damage to their houses and are not safe to return to. The government has insisted that everyone must live outdoors for a minimum of six months as the earthquakes continue to make their way throughout the islands of Indonesia and it is too unpredictable as to where one could strike next. People are living under tarps and using whatever material they can find to create a makeshift home. It is blazing hot and unbearable to be in during the day. There is not enough water for bathing, doing dishes, cleaning clothes, etc. Water is available in the morning only. We have been fine because we have a well and people were coming regularly to fill up their buckets. But as of today our well is dry and we must wait for it to refill. For the first time in my life I am experiencing what it is like not to have the necessity of water readily available. I have developed a skin rash with blisters on both of my arms, very itchy. My husband says it is from the water not being clean. Some people are bathing in and using the river for a toilet. It has been unsafe for anyone to be in buildings and has greatly affected people's livelihood. Many people, including my husband is suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). My husband screams in his sleep and I have to gently wake him up to let him know he is okay and safe. Any loud noise and his automatic response is to run, get down on the ground, yell, panic. It is difficult to witness. I am grateful to be here by his side to provide comfort, support, and love.
On the island of Lombok there have been 555 deaths, more than 431,000 people displaced, 88,740 houses destroyed.
The country of Indonesia is grieving. The people continue to live in fear and trauma. Since July 29th, 2018 there have been numerous and continuous earthquakes; the most recent a 7.5 magnitude earthquake followed by a huge tsunami on September 28th on the island of Sulawesi. The death toll is over 1,900 and rising. As bodies decompose there is no time to identify them and mass burials are taking place. Time is paramount in finding survivors. Finally President Widodo has asked for the help and assistance from other countries and declared this a National Disaster.
This is a 3rd world country and resources are limited.
It is my intention to be able to stay here on Lombok and continue to support my family, friends, students, and community financially and emotionally. I also want to be able to help people wherever I see the need. A little can make a significant difference to a homeless person. I am concerned that Lombok will be forgotten about while focus is placed upon Sulawesi Island and the crisis that is of top priority at this time. We are in hopes that we will be able to rebuild our homes and presume some normalcy to our lives as soon as possible. We pray that the earthquakes are finished. We pray for the panic and suffering to end. My heart aches and my heart breaks for the people of Indonesia and all that they have endured. My heart is continuously wrenched on a daily basis as I witness the devastation with my own eyes. It is brutal!
We appreciate any and all support at this very difficult time. Thank you!
ORIGINAL POST: August 16, 2018
My husband and his family are homeless. It has been frightening and heartbreaking for me to be so far away and feel so helpless, praying that all of my loved ones would remain safe. I am so grateful they are alive. They continue to live in fear, are always on alert, and are suffering trauma.
In the course of 3 weeks, numerous earthquakes have hit the island of Lombok in Indonesia, which I call my second home. There have been two major with a magnitude of 7.0, as well as hundreds of aftershocks. My husband has lost a home, as well as my sister-in-law and her family, our elderly aunt and uncle, and many of our friends and community. Currently those affected by the earthquake are living outside. If they haven't completely lost their homes than many have had severe structural damage, which makes it unsafe to return to their homes. Most Indonesian homes are made from a combination of cement and sand because they cannot afford to build with cement only. This makes the buildings vulnerable to collapse; especially with the aftershocks or during monsoon season. They need tarps, protection from the hot Indonesian sun in the day, from the winds at night and from any rain. People need food and fresh drinking water. They need help immediately. This is a Third World Country and resources and financial aid are limited. It is unsafe for people to be in buildings, therefore their livelihood has been affected as they are unable to go to work.
I am currently in Canada working to raise funds to help my loved ones -
FIRST: to be safe.
SECOND: to rebuild their homes and their lives. I will be returning to Indonesia to help as soon as possible. Once I am there I will be able to better assess the situation and know exactly what is needed.
Prior to creating the Love for Lombok campaign I sent $400. of my own money through Western Union to my husband which he distributed amongst his family and those in need within his village for food, water, medicine, and necessities. He also bought and took medicine to North Lombok and distributed it to those most in need.
Indonesian people do not have much materially or financially but they always share what they have and welcome others with open hearts and big smiles. It is my hope that I can return the kindness, generosity, and caring that I have received by being part of their family and part of their community. If you have questions or require additional information please contact me. A little goes a long way in Indonesia and $5.00 can make a huge difference to a homeless person. We are so appreciative of any help you can provide. Thank you! Terima kasih banyak!
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