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‘We’re afraid of the sea’: Indonesians seek shelter in mountains | Indonesia News

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South Lampung, Indonesia – Maskah, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, woke up on Saturday night to the sound of wooden fishing boats splintering apart outside her house in the village of Sukaraja in South Lampung.

“I knew it was a tsunami, so I ran to the road next to my house and fled up to the mountains,” she told Al Jazeera. “I didn’t bring anything, just the clothes I was wearing.”

Other villagers followed Maskah, many carrying young children. They trekked over a kilometre and a half along a muddy track on Rajabasa Mountain to a partial clearing called Kebun Damos.

The families spent the night huddled together under trees and sleeping on banana leaves.”It was raining hard and we were all soaked,” said Maskah.

A powerful tsunami hit Banten and Lampung provinces on Saturday night, leaving at least 430 people dead. The eruption of Anak Krakatoa volcano in the Sunda Strait is widely thought to be the cause behind it.

Some 16,000 people are now displaced, including many of the residents from Sukaraja village, who lived close to the shoreline. Most of them are afraid to go home, worried another tsunami will hit their village again.





People said they needed proper tents, blankets and cooking equipment [Teguh Harahap/Al Jazeera]

Fearful of another attack

The morning after the tsunami, Maskah, 39, and other families went back to their houses to collect clothes and other personal items before returning to the safety of the mountainside.

They are fearful that Anak Krakatoa will erupt again and are too traumatised to go home. “That sound in the distance isn’t thunder,” said Ruminah, 32, another resident of Sukaraja village.

“It’s the volcano rumbling and it’s getting louder. Anak Krakatoa is still active, so we are on alert.”

Food is scarce in the makeshift camp and as of Wednesday, the residents were yet to receive adequate assistance from the government.

Up to five families sleep in tents which the villagers built themselves using tarpaulins and mosquito nets.

“At night, we can’t sleep,” said Ruminah. “We’re worried about snakes and spiders. Last night, a huge millipede got inside our tent. And it’s so cold.”

The families say they need proper tents from the government, as well as blankets and cooking equipment. At the moment, they make fires from wood found in the jungle to prepare their food.

While other local residents and charities have donated crackers, instant noodles and water, the supplies are not enough to feed the group of over 100 people at the camp.

In the meantime, the displaced families have tried to supplement their diets with food scavenged from the surrounding jungle, including unripened bananas which they boil to make edible.





Food is scarce in the makeshift camp and there is little government help [Teguh Harahap/Al Jazeera]

Difficulties in delivering aid 

Like other villagers, Maskah and Ruminah are critical of the government’s response to the disaster. They say it is “disappointing” as aid is yet to reach them.

On Wednesday, Jarco, a representative of Badan Amil Zakat Nasional (BAZNAS), a non-structural government organisation that reports to the president, arrived at Kebun Damos to carry out an assessment of the needs of the displaced residents.

He told Al Jazeera that the sluggish government response was due to the logistics of getting aid to such remote areas.

“Access is difficult. We have offered the residents the chance to shelter in a local junior school building but they don’t want to,” he said, adding that he hoped tents would arrive at the camp by Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, other residents have attempted to fill in this gap.

Hari Purnomo, a villager from neighbouring Rajabasa village, is coordinating the local response to the displaced villagers while they wait for government aid to arrive.

In addition to the camp at Kebun Damos, there are several other camps of displaced people from other villages dotted around Rajabasa Mountain.

Purnomo has been collecting donations to take to the camps. He says the local government has only focused on distributing aid along the coastal areas, while areas that are further inland, have been left out.

According to Purnomo, it has been difficult to deliver aid to a group of over 1,000 people from coastal areas in South Lampung, who have taken refuge further inland along the mountainside.

“I’ve tried to talk to them and ask them to come a little further down the mountain,” he told Al Jazeera.

“It’s very difficult for us to help them and bring food or other supplies as there is no road here. We have to come by motorbike and then on foot.”





Local authorities are finding it difficult to reach the affected areas [Teguh Harahap/Al Jazeera]

Inland areas hard to reach 

Local authorities, delivering medical aid, are also trying to overcome similar obstacles.

Minak Wardan, secretary of the central health clinic in Rajabasa district, which includes Sukaraja village, says that the health authority has set up a series of mobile clinics which have driven into mountainous areas to distribute medicine.

Despite making three trips since the tsunami hit, the clinics have not been able to reach all the camps due to the difficulties in gaining access.

Like Purnomo, Wardan has tried to reason with residents. “I’ve already spoken to them and asked them to consider coming down, but they won’t,” he explained to Al Jazeera. “They are traumatised.”

Maskah and Ruminah have no plans of returning to their homes in Sukaraja village. They say they will remain in the jungle until the threat of Anak Krakatoa erupting and triggering another deadly tsunami is no longer there.

Indonesia‘s Meteorology, Geophysics and Climatology Agency head Dwikorita Karnawati has asked people to avoid coastal areas as stormy weather and high surf continue to plague the area.

“All these conditions could potentially cause landslides at the cliffs of the crater into the sea, and we fear that that could trigger a tsunami,” she said.

Eleven residents from Sukaraja village are missing and presumed to be dead. The displaced residents feel that the likelihood of another eruption and tsunami is high.

“The lightning around the volcano is getting worse,” said Maskah. “It’s cold and windy here in the jungle, but we don’t want to go home. We’re scared of the sea.”





Displaced residents say a likelihood of another tsunami is high [Teguh Harahap/Al Jazeera]

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When Ontario declared a COVID-19 health emergency last spring, the first instinct of Ottawa entrepreneur Peter O’Blenis was to preserve cash.

“We basically stopped our discretionary spending,” said O’Blenis, the co-founder and CEO of Evidence Partners, which makes software for accelerating the review of scientific and medical literature, using artificial intelligence. “We cut investments in things meant to help us grow.”

It was a defensive posture born of experience. O’Blenis had 12 years earlier nearly been crushed by the global financial crisis. Another looked to be on the way.

In 2008, O’Blenis and his colleagues, Jonathan Barker and Ian Stefanison, hit a brick wall with their first venture, TrialStat, which helped hospitals manage patients’ electronic data. While TrialStat had secured $5.5 million in venture financing just a couple of years earlier, the founders had burned through most of it during a rapid expansion. When the financial world collapsed, so did their firm.

The trio played things far more conservatively with Evidence Partners, which has relied almost exclusively on customer revenues to finance expansion.

The caution proved unnecessary. Like so many other businesses, O’Blenis underestimated the government’s willingness to keep the economy afloat with easy money. Nor did he anticipate that COVID-19 would prove a significant catalyst for the firm’s revenues so soon.

Evidence Partners is hardly the only local firm with technology particularly suited for the war against COVID-19. Spartan Bioscience and DNA Genotek adapted existing products to create technology for identifying the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Ottawa-based units of Abbott Laboratories and Siemens Healthineers make portable blood analyzers that diagnose patients afflicted by the virus.

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Shepherds of Good Hope wants to expand ByWard Market operation with eight-storey housing complex

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The Shepherds of Good Hope plans to build an eight-storey building near its current shelter for the homeless in the ByWard Market that would include supportive housing for up to 48 people, a soup kitchen and a drop-in centre.

The organization says it wants to be part of the solution to the housing crisis that has fuelled a rise in homelessness in Ottawa.

People would be moved out of the emergency shelters and into their own tiny apartments in the complex, which would include a communal dining hall and staff available to help with mental health, addiction and medical problems, said Caroline Cox, senior manager of communications for the Shepherds.

Some residents in the neighbourhood are opposed, saying services for the homeless and vulnerable should not be concentrated in one area of the city.

“I was flabbergasted,” said homeowner Brian Nolan, who lives one block from the development proposed for 216 Murray St., where currently a one-story building houses offices for the Shepherds of Good Hope.

Nolan said that, in the 15 years he’s lived in the area, it has become increasingly unsafe, with home and car thefts, drug dealing, loitering, aggressive and erratic behaviour, urinating, defecating and vomiting on sidewalks and yards and sexual acts conducted in public on his dead-end street. Before he lets his son play basketball in the yard, he checks the ground for needles and his home security camera to see who is nearby.

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Carleton University Hosts the Forum Lecture: Towards a Feminist Post-COVID City

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evehe Carleton University Forum Lecture: Towards a Feminist Post-COVID City given by Leslie Kern launches Ottawa Architecture Week. Urban geographer, author and academic, Kern will discuss how the pandemic has highlighted long-standing inequalities in the design, use and inclusivity of urban spaces. The talk will share some of the core principles behind a feminist urban vision to inform a wider vision of justice, equity and sustainability.

When
: Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.
Registration: https://alumni.carleton.ca/event-registration-architecture-forum-series-with-leslie-kern-2/.

About the Speaker

Kern holds a PhD in Women’s Studies from York University. She is currently an associate professor of Geography and Environment and director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Mount Allison University.

Kern is the author of two books on gender and cities, including Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made World (Verso). The book discusses how our cities have failed in terms of fear, motherhood, friendship, activism, the joy and perils of being alone, and also imagines what they could become.

Kern argues, “The pandemic has shown us that society can be radically reorganized if necessary. Let’s carry that lesson into creating the non-sexist city.”

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