13 February, 2019

Everyday life for Dewi, her husband Abyasa and their two children changed in the blink of an eye on September 28, 2018.

Dewi, Abyasa and their three-year-old son, Budi, had been selling fish at the markets in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, and were on their way home.

The family piled onto their motorbike and began their usual trip home over Palu City’s iconic Ponulele Bridge and past a popular park. Both were teeming with cars and motorcycles joining the usual home-time rush.

“Suddenly, our motorbike started shaking violently and it was very difficult to control,” Dewi says. She thought perhaps it was a flat tyre. But when she looked around, she saw other motorbikes falling down on the highway, and multiple other traffic accidents.

“It was then that we realised that a large earthquake was happening,” Dewi says.

Abyasa stopped the motorbike and shouted, “Dewi you have to run as fast as you can! Take Budi with you.” She saw the sea water erupt upwards like a black wall. Holding Budi tightly to her chest, Dewi ran as fast as her legs could carry her.

With her husband yelling at her to run faster and Budi screaming out in fear, Dewi cried as she ran, all the while chanting to Budi, “Hug mama son, hug mama…don’t be afraid.”

Dewi watched as the waves closed in, swallowing people, including Abyasa. She didn’t know where to go. With a final prayer for God’s protection, she waited for the first wave to hit.

Despite the strength of the wave rolling and dragging Dewi along, her grip on Budi didn’t falter. Until Dewi and Budi were slammed by the second wave, and that’s when she lost her hold on her son.

Dewi woke up at around 9pm that same night stuck in a tree, bleeding, injured and broken. With great difficulty, she climbed to the ground and saw the wide destruction that had struck her island. Abyasa and Budi were nowhere to be seen.

A navy soldier took Dewi to the hospital where she waited for two days for news of her family. Eventually she was reunited with her husband and eldest son. But they are still waiting for news of Budi.

Like thousands of people affected by the tsunami, Dewi and her family are living in a tent, their village destroyed by the waves.

“Currently we are living in a resettlement camp,” Dewi says. “But we have hope that keeps us alive. Hope that comes from the help of others. We hope soon everything will be better.”

Thousands of Indonesian families are slowly rebuilding their lives after the devastation of the recent earthquake and tsunami. So far, with your help, the ADRA network has provided 2,165 households with drinking water, 4,700 households with safe water containers, and 1,146 people with hygiene promotion. In the resettlement camp where Dewi and her family currently live, ADRA is providing tsunami survivors with shelter and clean water.

Disasters can strike at any time and for those affected, the difference between despair and hope often depends on how quickly help can get to them. On February 16, your donation to ADRA’s Disaster and Famine Relief Offering will enable ADRA to be always ready and always there for people when disasters strike.