Friday, January 4, 2019

Trauma Healing for PaluTrauma Healing for Palu

An earthquake measuring 7.4 magnitude, followed by a tsunami, hit the west coast of Sulawesi Island, Indonesia, in the northern part, on September 28, 2018. The epicenter was 26 km north of Donggala and 80 km northwest of Palu with a depth of 10 km. The earthquake shocks were felt in Donggala Regency, Palu City, Parigi Moutong Regency, Sigi Regency, Poso Regency, Tolitoli Regency, Mamuju Regency even to Samarinda City, Balikpapan City, and Makassar City. The earthquake triggered a tsunami of up to 5 meters in the city of Palu.

I was given the opportunity by PeaceGeneration to be one of the team assigned to visit Palu to give trauma healing sessions to the victims in refugee camps and volunteers, so that they are able to share the knowledge to the residents in need. The earthquake not only triggered the occurrence of a tsunami, but also liquefaction took place. The places affected by liquefaction I visited were in Donggala with around 5,000 victims and Petobo with 2,000 victims.
Approximately 60 high school students and university students participated. The session I gave was an Inner Listening session, with sharing in Family Groups and Art Therapy.  What the participants said was unexpected; before we thought that they would be traumatized by the disaster that had happened, but one month after the disaster they had recovered faster and were so eager to attend this program in all the sessions.

In the Family Group, they shared about how this disaster left them with tremendous wisdom.  Some of them were so traumatized and afraid to see the sea, but most of them were grateful that this disaster gave them and their families learning. Many of them shared that before the earthquake they got less attention from their parents, but after the earthquake their parents gave more attention to the children, some were sad because most of their friends had moved schools and homes and were living in other cities.
On this trip to Palu, I saw how the government was very responsive and quick in handling the recovery process so that people could do their daily activities as soon as possible. From Palu I learned that Indonesian people are indeed very strong. May Palu really rise up and be strong.

Reported by Nenden Vinna Mutiara