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Indonesia: education union’s swift support to earthquake-affected teachers, students and schools

Education unionists have launched several actions to support teachers, students and their families in Indonesia’s Lombok areas ravaged by strong earthquakes.

On 5 August 2018, a destructive earthquake, magnitude 7.0, struck the island of Lombok, Indonesia, that cost at least 436 lives. It was the main shock That followed the first quake of 29 July of magnitude 6.4 earthquake that cost 15 lives.

PGRI: 458 schools affected

According to the Persatuan Guru Republik Indonesia (PGRI), 458 schools were damaged by the earthquakes. The teachers’ union quickly jumped in to provide supplies needed by teachers and students, such as emergency school tents, uniforms, school kits and other educational materials. It undertook the following relief actions:

·         Formation of a disaster alert team by the PGRI branch in the West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) province, where Lombok is located

·         Distribution of aid directly to teachers whose houses were struck by the earthquake

·         Collection of data on earthquake impacts for teachers, schools, students and other educational facilities.

·         Fund-raising solidarity both in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) and nationally, following PGRI recommendations at Special Leaders Coordination Meeting on 7 August. This meeting suggested that PGRI led humanitarian action and fund-raising country-wide as the PGRI National Solidarity Movement. This solidarity aims to ease the burden on PGRI members, students and educational facilities totally paralysed by the earthquake in NTB province.

Indonesian president: provision of emergency schooling

The Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo visited earthquake victims living in emergency camp in East Lombok on 30 July. He promised that all victims will be properly treated and that the disaster response is running well, including the provision of health care, logistics, basic supplies, and emergency schooling.

In North Lombok, the local administration also announced a seven-day emergency period from 29 July. Its data shows that 6,237 residents from 4,047 families were affected by the earthquake. Four people were killed when buildings collapsed and 39 were injured. In total, 263 houses were damaged: 148 were lightly damaged, 74 damaged and 41 severely damaged.