When disaster strikes

Labour rights article written on the 14 Dec 2010

Photo: OxfamAUS

English / Bahasa

At this time my country is experiencing a lot of disasters. These disasters have major impacts on communities, and place a great burden on the lives of many Indonesians. In the final months of this year we have had an earthquake, floods in Wasior (West Papua), a tsunami in Mentawai (Sumatra) and most recently Mount Merapi has erupted in Jogja (Central Java).

In Waisor more than 100 people lost their lives while 450 have been pronounced missing; there were 445 deaths following the Sumatran tsunami; there have been about 232 fatalities in the Mount Merapi eruptions, and the number of refugees could be as many as 500,000.

Up till now there is little sign that these disasters will end, particularly the on-going eruptions of Mount Merapi.

These natural disasters take place in regions of Indonesia which are far away from the central government in Jakarta. We hope that the Indonesian Government will be able to respond quickly and assist the victims of these disasters. But with our system of Regional Autonomy it seems the response isn’t always as fast as it could be. This is because the different levels of government can often wait for one another to take the lead.

There are a number of relief efforts by volunteer groups in the regions, who form camps and create emergency teams. They head straight to the field or disaster location to help effected communities. They collect donations, which can include money, clothing or food.

Indonesians have a lot of empathy and understanding when a tragedy strikes a community. Unfortunately, there are some who place their own popularity first when giving assistance. For instance sometimes aid is covered in stamps from a specific political party or interest group.

I don’t agree with this. Helping the weak or those injured by tragedy is an obligation which all of us should fulfil with sincerity—and without needing to be praised.

We need to remember that regardless of whether a tragedy is caused by nature or whether a disaster is caused by an unjust system, the human victims will feel upset and disappointed when they are marginalised or when they have little promise of a better life.

[singlepic id=161 w=320 h=240 float=left]Suffering will always be more prolonged where there is no guarantee of adequate social security. Life can return to dignity when we return to work and have an income that can fulfil our basic needs. This includes our physical and non-physical needs; it includes health and a suitable place to live.

Top image: an ash covered village on the slopes of Mr. Merapi volcano (November 6 2010); above image: communities seek refuge from the volcanic eruptions (Dow Punpiputt/Oxfam).

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Suparjo is a former factory worker who is currently looking for employment after his unfair dismissal from an adidas supplier factory. Suparjo has been blogging with Oxfam since May and is happy to answer your questions.

Note: The content of this blog is produced by and reflects the personal views of individuals, including workers and union leaders based in Indonesia. The views expressed in this blog are therefore individual views and do not necessarily represent the view or position of and are not endorsed by Oxfam Australia. Further the purpose of this blog is to assist in providing a platform for individuals, including workers and union leaders based in Indonesia to communicate directly with the public and no representation is made as to the accuracy of the information. The information contained in this blog is provided only for educational purposes, and blog topics may or may not be updated subsequent to their initial posting.

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Saat mengalami bencana

Saat ini Indonesia mengalami banyak bencana alam yang sangat berdampak kepada masyarakat dan semakin membebani kehidupan rakyat Indonesia. Pada akhir-akhir tahun ini ada kejadian gempa, banjir di Wasior Papua, tsunami di Mentawai Sumatra dan terakhir Gunung merapi meletus di Jogja.

Di Wasior lebih lebih dari 100 korban meninggal sedangkan 450 orang dinyatakan hilang. Korban tsunami di Sumatra berjumlah 445 orang. Korban bencana Gunung Merapi meninggal kurang lebih 232 dan dengan jumlah pengungsi lebih dari 500 ribu orang. Bencana alam tersebut juga membuat rakyat kehilangan harta benda yang selama ini didapatkan dengan kerja keras.

Hingga saat ini bencana alam belum ada tanda-tanda akan berakhir, terutama meletusnya Gunung Merapi di Jogja.

Bencana alam yang terjadi di Indonesia terjadi di daerah-daerah yang jauh dari pusat pemerintah di Jakarta. Banyak masyarakat berharap agar Pemerintah Indonesia bisa cepat dan tanggap atas penanganan dari korban bencana alam yang terjadi. Seiring dengan sistim Otonomi daerah sering kali penanganan bencana tidak secepat mungkin. Sebabnya, tingkat pemerintah yang berbeda sering saling menunggu untuk pemimpinan dari tingkat yang lain.

Tetapi berbagai upaya juga dilakukan oleh kelompok relawan di daerah-daerah yang membentuk posko-posko dan tim sar. Mereka ikut turun langsung ke lapangan atau tempat bencana untuk membantu para korban bencana alam. Mereka mengumpulkan berbagai sumbangan dan bantuan baik dalam bentuk uang ataupun makanan dan pakaian.

Rakyat Indonesia sangat peka dan tanggap atas setiap musibah yang dialami saudaranya. Sayang ada pihak yang lebih mengedepankan popularitas kelompok atau golongan sendiri dalam melakukan pertolongan. Ini terbukti setiap dimana barang bantuan dikasih cap-cap dari semacam partai atau kelompok kepentingan. Saya tidak suka itu karena menolong yang lemah atau terkena musibah adalah kewajiban kita semua yang harusnya di ulurkan dengan ikhlas tanpa minta dipuji-puji.

Kita juga harus ingat bahwa baik musibah yang diakibatkan kejadian alam, atau akibat bencana juga akibat suatu sistim yang tidak adil, tetap yang menjadi korban adalah manusia yang punya rasa sedih dan kecewa ketika dipinggirkan atau tidak adanya jaminan untuk bisa hidup lebih baik.

Jika berbicara penderitaan tentu akan lebih panjang dan sangat menyiksa kalau tidak ada jaminan hidup yang layak dan tentu. Kehidupan bisa layak dan bermartabat jika manusia itu bekerja dan dengan upah yang bisa untuk memenuhi kebutuhan hidup. Ini termasuk baik kebutuhan fisik maupun kebutuhan non fisik, dan juga kebutuhan akan pemenuhan kesehatan dan tempat tinggal yang layak.