Experience of Cianjur Earthquake Women Volunteers: Although It's Not Easy, We Have to Keep Fighting!

8 Dec 2022 / Admin / 140 Reads

Experience of Cianjur Earthquake Women Volunteers: Although It's Not Easy, We Have to Keep Fighting! 

By: Ade Anisintya Subekti, Purchasing Administration Staff, PT Pasir Tengah


A small town in West Java known for its quality rice – Cianjur, unexpectedly faced the shock of an earthquake that devastated parts of the district. The earthquake on November 21, 2022 with a magnitude of 5.6 'rocked' Cianjur and destroyed many residential areas and public facilities. The latest data from the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) shows that until November 29, 2022, the victims of the Cianjur earthquake have reached 327 people. People were forced to flee to safer places, and many of the residents are still surviving in refugee camps. This is natural because after the first earthquake occurred, several times the Cianjur area was still shaken by aftershocks with a lower scale.

A day after the earthquake, I along with several people visited the earthquake-affected area in Nanggeleng Village, Nagrak Village to make donations collected independently. What I felt at that time was, the streets were so congested, ambulance sirens 'wailed' incessantly, that cars of food supplies began to enter the city which caused the streets to be so congested to creep. Arriving at the location affected by the earthquake, I was very sad to see his condition. As a native of Cianjur, I want to do something to help them, as well as gratitude because I, my family, and the house I live in were not affected by the earthquake.

A few days later, I received information that the company where I worked, PT Pasir Tengah, opened registration to become a volunteer for the Cianjur earthquake. The Company collaborated with the Dompet Dhuafa Foundation to help the victims affected by the earthquake, where the Company donated supplies of ready-to-eat nutritious food ingredients for the victims. Since I didn't have any first aid or rescue skills, I volunteered at a soup kitchen. At the very least, I can help them by preparing healthy and nutritious meals to live the days that are not as easy as they are today.

Saturday, November 26, 2022, I and the PT Pasir Tengah volunteer team went to the evacuation post early in the morning. We all stopped by the Dompet Dhuafa main post to get escorts and directions from the relevant team, considering that the terrain we will pass is certainly not easy. Sure enough, my guess was that motorbikes were very difficult to climb, so some left the motorbike and continued walking to go to the Refugee Post in Cijedil.

At the Cijedil Refugee Post, I have only seen people and children sleeping side by side with graves in my life. There were even children sleeping right next to the tomb, and I saw some tombs that were new, and maybe they were the tombs of the earthquake victims who died. In this post, according to the direction of the Dompet Dhuafa team, we were not too long and we were taken to the Refugee Post in Awiban Village, Benjot Village, Cugenang District, precisely at the Al Humaediyyah Islamic Boarding School, because there were no volunteers there.

While at the Refugee Post, the main task I did was mostly focused on the soup kitchen. Together with the team, we prepare, process, cook foodstuffs, and distribute food ingredients to refugees. In the afternoon, we had to calculate the supply of foodstuffs to ensure the adequacy of logistics, and inform the relevant team to deliver foodstuffs according to the required portion.

It seems trivial 'only' preparing food. In fact, it is not easy to cook in the soup kitchen in the refugee area. Limited cooking utensils, for example, make the cooking process longer, and the energy spent also becomes more. In addition, the conditions in the tent were hot, as well as the amount of food that had to be provided made us race against time.

At the evacuation post of Awilarangan Village, Benjot Village, Cugenang District, there were approximately 200 people who were displaced. Many of them are elderly, children, and toddlers. They had to crowd together in refugee tents until an undetermined time. Of course, this condition is not easy for them, especially when it rains, where water often seeps into tents, including soup kitchen tents. Our volunteer team also works like in the story of 'roro jonggrang' who cleans up and ensures all logistics are safe in a short time, or rainwater will soak and wet all logistics supplies, of course we don't want that to happen.

As a woman who volunteers, of course there is a sense of worry or insecurity  when working to help them, for example, when you want to purify in a makeshift bathroom without a roof. In addition, the several aftershocks also traumatized me a little. Overthinking certainly exists, but I try to calm down, so that I can calm the refugees affected by the earthquake.

My team and I get a shift  system with other volunteers, so we don't come to the evacuation post every day. From volunteering for a short time, I learned a valuable lesson, 'No matter how difficult conditions are, we have to keep fighting. Fight with yourself and start small, because those little things might be very meaningful and beneficial to others!' Maybe I am not a doctor for the victims, or a rescue  team to help those in need, but I try to be able to contribute and ensure they can continue their hopes by providing nutritious ready-to-eat meals while I am on duty.

Their sorrow, is our sorrow. Our prayers are for the victims, may Allah Almighty grant us all protection and strength. Aamiin.


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