Another Farewell

At last JEN’s projects are coming to an end in Indonesia. JEN completed 3 projects after the devastating earthquake in West Sumatera that occurred on September 30th 2009. The 4th project is continuing but will end soon. The people who were affected by the earthquake are regaining their original daily lives by now. Many NGOs had worked for the early recovery and community development projects, but the NGOs who worked for emergency phases are almost gone from the area.

People received toolkits that we were distributing, with which they removed the debris of their damaged houses, and began to rebuild their houses from scratch. We also implemented disaster prevention education, through which people become prepared to face possible future earthquakes.  Latrines were constructed and hygiene workshops were held at local schools for students and teachers, all in order to improve schools and raise awareness of disaster prevention. .

It is always sad to leave a place after having spent many months there. You gradually grow attachment to the local residents and colleagues. That was what happened to me after completing the projects in Kashmir, Balochistan and NWFP. Now it is time to say goodbye to Indonesia. What’s relieving is to see the smiles of happiness on the faces of affected people, who received help from JEN. That is the goal of all our projects.

100513_img_6591_resize_resize  All the JEN expatriate staffs, local staffs and friends attended a farewell party and dinner last week in Padang. JEN local staffs sung Japanese song ‘’Kokoro-no Tomo (a Japanese song by Mayumi Itsuwa that is popular in Indonesia)’’ for the expatriate staff, which was very nice but sad.

In the end we all hope that people in West Sumatra are safe and secure from any future disaster and that they will restore their original lives quickly.


Project leader: Azmat Ali

May 13, 2010 in Indonesia |


The Spirit of Gotong Royong


After a two-hour drive from the Padang City onto the West into the mountains, we arrive in a district called V Koto Timur.  It is a peaceful agricultural province that has rice terraces in the mountains, larger than the ones in Bali, and coconut trees surrounding the roads, which are over ten meters tall.  We interviewed the chief of the Kudu Gantan village, where JEN first distributed emergency supplies.

“The houses in the village were completely destroyed by the earthquake. While the scale of damage varies by region, all the villagers were absolutely shocked by the awful earthquake, which had been an unprecedented experience for everyone.

Just after the earthquake, personnel from JEN arrived.  They asked me to make a list of the village residents.  As a chief of the village, I had been managing the villager list, so I immediately handed them the list. 


JEN prepared to distribute debris removal kits and a set of tools, such as wheelbarrows, per five households, to families with higher priority. We had a custom called Gotong Royong (working together), in which we support our neighbours. Soon, the villagers started removing the debris of each other’s houses. Now, we are almost done removing the debris, so we are reconstructing our houses by ourselves.  These tools were distributed by JEN at the time.


here were sometimes minor conflicts among the villagers and I had been solving them by intervening them.  However, the situation right after the earthquake was not something I could deal with by myself.  The tools we received from JEN us, who had lost everything at the time, hope and half of the power we have always had.  The second half is the part we ourselves need to work on.


We have learned several things by heart from this earthquake experience: 1) To assist those who are going through hard times, 2) To stockpile food, and 3) To support each other by integrating villagers, teachers, and the government.

May 11, 2010 in Indonesia |


Plaza Andalas and Ramayana reopened and giving a spectacular discounts’


This was the headline in all the newspapers on May 1st.


It was just 7 months ago on 30th September when a huge earthquake destroyed houses, schools, hospitals, hotels, markets and shopping complexes like Plaza Andalas. It was the biggest mall in the West Sumatra Province. The residents were not only suffering because of their destroyed houses but they were also shocked to see their favorite mall completely destroyed.

After 7 months of preparation and recovery, Plaza Andalas and Ramayana re-operate again approved by the mayor of the city. In addition, some new and famous chains of shops also opened to get the customers. At the re-launching day, an artist from Jakarta and famous music band were invited to attract and entertain Padang people. Thousands of people including students, couples, and old people gathered in the opening ceremony and everyone was singing songs with joy and happiness.

It has only been mere seven months since the earthquake. The reopening of this mall will encourage the local people because they can now buy their daily needs and the children can play around at the game center.  It also will recover the economic development of Padang city, absorb job seekers, and give some good influence to the traditional market.

The reopening has marked an important step in the revitalization of the city. 

April 8, 2010 in Indonesia |


Suggestion from a Child

At last the workshops finished for 69 schools. That was the report from the JEN staff who has been organizing the disaster risk reduction workshops for the school children and teachers in the disaster affected areas of Padang Pariaman.

Organizing of 17 workshops of full day continuously in 1 month, handling school children in the 17 different venues is not an easy task. And we know that some children are very naughty and difficult to handle, but sometimes that naughty behavior and gesture discover a new thing to study and it also refresh the serious atmosphere in the workshop hall and people cannot stop to laugh of loud. JEN observed this kind of occasions many times during the workshops. Sometimes those innocent children make us think about something that we have never thought of.

There is one part of the workshop where each group creates a map of the school and its evacuation route. After they complete the mapping, one of the teachers or students explains the map to all the participants.
Once a teacher was explaining about the Drop Cover and Hold method, a student raised a question. 

“If we hide under the table and the table is not strong enough, the debris from the roof will destroy the table, so we will all die”.

No one had answer for that question or query of the child. But the teacher told the child that they will ask the department to make the tables stronger.

Education department has the solution of this issue. They should make the furniture strong enough and they should keep in mind that the area is vulnerable and it is possible that disaster can come anytime in the future. JEN included this point as a suggestion to education department in the report.

March 25, 2010 in Indonesia |



101209_img_3294_resize_2   In Padang there are many nice buildings but they have strange roofs. Every new person who comes to Padang must think the reason of this kind of roofs. There must be some stories behind it. One of the JEN local staff explained like this;

  Those buildings name is Minangkabau. This word is consisted of two words “minang” it means winner and “kerbau” means buffalo.

  Long time ago there was a festival of buffalo race every year. That race was mainly between Padang and neighboring Java people. Java was famous for its healthy and big buffalos and Padang didn’t have healthy buffalos as compare as Java’s buffalos. Java people always won the race. Some of the clever Padang people thought about the strategy to win the races. They started to use hungry baby buffalos for the race against Java buffalos. Then, Padang people attached some small knives and blades with their horns. The hungry baby buffalos were running very fast behind the buffalos for the milk, so the attached knifes and blades were making the body of buffalo scratched and wounded, when they were trying to drink milk from the buffalos. The speed of Java buffalos was automatically getting slower and at last because of too much bleeding they were felling down. After that the race always won by Padang. Finally Java people stopped to participate in the races and this festival was over. 101209_img_3306_resize_2

These buildings designs are the memorial of those races and the symbol shows the horn of buffalo. Almost 60% government offices roofs are Minangkabau.

December 10, 2009 in Indonesia |


Rains and landslides

261109_091116_additional_informatio It’s rainy season here in Indonesia. The rainy season starts from September to February in West Sumatra, though rain continues throughout the year. Previously it didn’t affect the people lives; however, people are in much trouble with rains this year. It is because their houses are damaged and destroyed due to earthquake and still they don’t have proper shelter to live in. Tents cannot sustain longer with the rain. That is why not so many organizations didn’t distribute tents to the affected people.

The rain affects for the humanitarian agencies to reach to the far areas to help the people. Many villages are still unreachable by the public transport because of landslide occurred by the rain. People have to walk for many kilometers for the markets, hospitals and other facilities.

261109_101109_assesment_batang_piam One other hand, some of the people take benefit from the limitation of transport. Those people are the bike owners. The bikes are used as taxis to cross the location with difficult and narrow landslides. Surprisingly, the fare is very expensive. Once JEN staffs wanted to go to a village which was 2 KM far from the slide, they asked bike owners about the rate. Their demand was 70000 Rupiah (7 $) for just 2 KM. This facility is very expensive for us, but sometimes it is convenient for the villagers, especially for old people, women, children and sick people.

November 26, 2009 in Indonesia |


The Red Zone

  JEN support to the affected people of devastating earthquake is ongoing in the villages of West Sumatera Island. Thousands of houses destroyed and people lives in temporary shelters, mosques, schools or with neighbors. Many shops, schools and office buildings destroyed completely because of the earthquake.

  JEN is operating all the activities from the Provincial Capital Padang city. Padang city is located very near to the Indian Ocean. Because of the recent earthquake, there is possibility of aftershocks. Those aftershocks can create Tsunami in the area. Therefore Government declared all the areas near to the beach as a red zone. Wealthy people who were living in the houses near to the beach are fleeing their houses and coming to the center of the city to stay. However, majority of the people are still staying there because they cannot afford to live in expensive central Padang city.

  That is the reason why, almost all the houses in the safe central Padang are occupied and a few are available for rent. The rent required by the owner is too high. Many International NGOs including JEN who are staying at Padang City are facing the problem to search the space for the office in good location.

  There are houses available but those are within red zone and far from the main city. JEN is facing the problem where to live, red zone, unsecured area, or to remain staying at hotel.

October 29, 2009 in Indonesia |



’Of course, there is no way we could afford it.’

This is what one villager has answered when JEN asked, ‘is our tool-kit useful?’ JEN was glad to see our tool-kits being used; but, at the same time, we realized that it is time to consider our next project.

In the village, families are clearing rubbles, building shelters and tents by supporting each other. They must finish building shelters before the rainy season arrives.

Three weeks have passed since the earthquake. Before, the villagers were desperate to acquire assistance goods, however, now, they are starting to consider their future; for example, their future life, place to live and their children’s education. Mrs. Asniar, age 50, was clearing rubble with her sons-in-law when we met her in the village. During our conversation, she suddenly burst out crying, saying ‘I used to think what can be worse than this when I lost my house by the earthquake. But now, since everybody cares about me so much, I am very happy. However, I can not sleep when I think of our life from now on.’

Now villagers must consider seriously about their life after the earthquake. JEN is also at the final stage of the planning of the next project.

JEN’s staffs are busy not just with the on-going aid distribution, but with also other issues such as needs assessment in the village and coordination with the Indonesian government.

JEN would like to ask you for your continuous support.

October 26, 2009 in Indonesia |


Urgent Report from Indonesia

It is a long time since I handed in my last report, I am sorry for this belated report, Constant rip to the fields disabled me to access the internet.  In the meantime, assessment and distribution have continued.  JEN will, in a few days, have finished distribution of tool kits and UNICEF sanitary kits to total 1600 families, living in 10 villages in Pariaman area. At the same time, the next project plan has been under consideration. Let me share with you the plan in this blog once it is finalized.

I would like to discuss some stories related to school.  Every time I visited villages for assessment and distribution, I found some schools, which were, in many cases, completely destroyed. School children, however, continued studying by bringing their desks and chairs into the broken school buildings, or setting them on street sides near their school. Some schools had built simple tents in the school yards.

At one of those schools, SDN INT'L 07 GUGUS III, Ms Marcia, the School Principle, came up to us and asked us to pay attention to her school situation.

There are totally 130 students from age 6 to 12. The earthquake, however, made it impossible for many students to go to school, and those students who did come to school could not concentrate on work and went back home without finishing lessons. The children often suddenly remember lost family members and the terrible earthquake, and often break down and cry.  Under such circumstances, school hours, which were from 7 to 13, was changed to 7 to 10. Many of teaching materials such as textbooks and notes, chalks, whiteboard, even clothes are destroyed and gone. People living in this area have lived their lives by selling rice, and their lives became much harder after the earthquake, they lost their houses and they cannot afford to prepare school materials again for their children. Ms. Marcia could barely purchase desks and chairs by spending her own money.  This is all she can do now for her school.

Ms. Marcia asked us to support her school so that all of her students could come back to school. She hopes to prepare such circumstances where children can forget the awful experiences of earthquake, but now, she does not know what to do. The earthquake hurt students as well as school teachers physically and mentally, and they lost the conditions to keep studying. Both students and teachers need effective programs and tools with which they can restart and enjoy learning. She also thinks it is necessary for her and school teachers to exchange information with school staffs who have experienced earthquakes. She wants to learn something effective for her school reconstruction from us Japanese people.

3 weeks have passed since the earthquake, and many support activities are in the final stage and public report by mass-media is already decreasing. Several supporting organization like JEN, however, have prepared them for the next step, considering that assistance to restore peoples' daily lives has just begun.  I would like to ask every person who read this urgent report to give warm support to the earthquake victims.

October 22, 2009 in Indonesia |


[BREAKING NEWS] Indonesia: Aid Distribution

131009_img_0100_low This emergency assistance is realized through partnership with UNICEF, the Japanese Government and Japan Platform. Considerable amount of issues are efficiently progressing under the management of the project leader Azmat and his local staff.

Yesterday, October 14th, became the unforgettable turning-point of this project. JEN was able to start distributing both tool and sanitary kits. The distribution site was Pariaman district located some 100 km north of central Padang. Pariaman was severely damaged compared to Padang; despite the nearly entire destruction of houses in this district there are only a few aids reaching the area. Although more than 10 days have passed since the earthquake, JEN was the second organization to bring aid supply to the district.

In addition, Japan’s Foreign Minister Mr. Okada visited the site where JEN is providing assistance. The visit of the Minister and the start of the aid distribution have coincidentally happened on the same day.

JEN’s support goods are toolkits (shovel, hammer, saw, pincers, scissors, trailer etc.) and sanitary kits provided by UNICEF (soap, dust cloth, bucket, toothbrush, toothpaste, towel etc.).

In addition, JEN has visited families from the villages of Koram Janyan and Tarau in the same Pariaman district. The distribution of support goods to these villages will start from tomorrow. In this project, JEN is planning to distribute support goods to total of 10 villages.

(From Padang, Yuka Hamatsu)

October 15, 2009 in Indonesia |


<> Indonesia: JEN will Start Aid Distribution from Today

141009_img_0128_low According to interviews by the afflected people, enough food and water are provided by the Indonesian government and various international organizations. The real issues are accommodation (since their houses are damaged and many have no place to sleep but outdoors) and their livelihood.

From today, JEN will provide the tool for clearing rubbles and then start distributing shelter-kits and sanitary goods in line with other NGOs and international organizations.

All this is done by  taking into account local conditions and local people’s needs confirmed through interviews. However, this is just an emergency measure, so at the same time, JEN is also conducting  assessment for the next project. JEN not only envisages the needs of goods but sanitary conditions as well as locals that could be suffering from earthquake trauma, and shares relevant information such as assistance situations with other institutions. 

When JEN had a meeting with one French NGO yesterday, their staff were very delighted to hear that JEN will start distributing shelter-kits. They are planning to implement a training program to build  houses. However, rents around this area have soared at about 80% after the earthquake.

Since local people cannot afford to rebuild their houses and buy equipments to remove rubbles, this French staff expressed so much delight, even with body gestures, “It will be so much help for us! This partnership is a miracle! Perfect!!”

In this way, the effectiveness and the speed of our assistance will improve by enhancing the tight coordination amongst international aid agencies and/or UN institutions from all over the world.

(From Padan, Yuka Hamatsu)

October 14, 2009 in Indonesia |



131009_img_0140_low JEN kicked off the negotiations with local partners to procure tools for clearing rubble on the 11th. Meanwhile, JEN gathered and exchanged information with related parties and held recruiting interviews with potential local staff at the Governor’s House, the local hub for many assistance agencies.

As of yesterday, JEN has been operating and conducting assessment in the village of Balai Pasar Kudu in Pariaman District, which is about two hours drive from Padang. Fernando, who has joined JENsince two days ago, has been working with to continue our activities.

Continuting from before,  JEN will conduct needs assessment . We aim to finish the assessment as soon as possible in order to be able to start distributing tomorrow.

(From Padan, Yuka Hamatsu)

October 13, 2009 in Indonesia |

<> Indonesia: A Report from on the Drive to the Afflicted Area

131009__img_0180_low My name is Hamatsu and I have reached the site on 11th.

I am on my way on a car from Padan to the remote area; field-site. Padan, where JEN’s activities base, was damaged relatively little. However, the farther you are away from this city, the more severe is the damage. Most of the houses are half destroyed or fully otherwise in the district which JEN is conducting a survey from the day before yesterday.

Villagers are living in the damaged houses. Considering a risk of second disaster, this situation is seriously dangerous. There are even some who are sleeping outdoors. While some villagers are making an effort to rebuild gigantic houses by themselves, we have come across several who are being at a loss due to lack of money and several elders who reject to go outdoors due to fear from the earthquakes.

JEN hopes that we can manage to organize an arrangement to distribute emergency aid supply, as soon as possible.

(From Padan, Yuka Hamatsu )

October 13, 2009 in Indonesia |


Latest News from Padang - Cordination Meeting

20091009coordinationcenterpadang_4   After one week of the earthquake, UN  coordination is finally organized by cluster (sub groups). Each organization working for the distribution are  giving information on the capacity and time of delivery.

  The more important is that coordination is the time of delivery and the selection of area for helping the people.  it is still confusing on who is or will do what and where exactly specially for the distribution of non food item and medicines etc.

  Step by step at daily level even hours we collect new information and developing our strategy for helping the affected people. Today it is still difficult to mention how many people are affected. We will have more clear picture within a few days.

20091009coordinationcenterpadang_3   According to United Nations and the majority of the NGOs including JEN , the shelter is one of the main need for the people. We are lucky because the weather is nice and we don't have heavy rain. The people with destroy house can more or less survive under this condition but every one is afraid of the big rain.  The objective is to distribute the most rapidly as possible for helping the people. We can not wait so long for and all international actors is this governor house are aware of it.( photo: Chisa and Cyril at the temp space for the time being)


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October 9, 2009 in Indonesia |

Latest News From Padang - Big Open Air Room

20091009coordinationcenterpadang   Like in huge disaster, coordination is one of the main factor of success. In Padang, United Nations are leading the coordination at the Governor House.  It is amazing to see so many international Humanitarian  organization, UN agencies, rescue teams from many countries like Japan, France, Germany, USA, and England.  Also, Journalists who comes to this place for collecting all types of information and using internet access.

  Everyone is running everywhere and we can hear so many different languages. On my left, two Italians are talking so loudly, 4 English men's  from one NGO are trying to print one document, 3 military from unknown uniform are looking some maps and UN staff make some announcements for the health meeting. In this huge open air  room , thousand of cable are crossing all over, big TV cover the latest news regarding the earthquake, and  we, JEN staff came here to use internet access to send our first report and coordinate with other UN and In go our future plan. 20091009coordinationcenterpadang_2


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October 9, 2009 in Indonesia |


Latest News from Padang - a story of victim

Img_5744_low  When we arrived here yesterday night, the situation was relatively calm. It was very surprising that we could not detect any traditional sign of after having a big natural disaster.

  This morning, we have seen the reality, the damage by the earthquake.  The earthquake had hit very brutally to some houses in Padang.  It is difficult to realize how serious it was, some houses are not damaged at all and others are completely destroyed.   They don’t have enough rescue people to save life for who is still blocked in gravel and demolish houses.

  We met one family at the hotel where we stayed.  The father of the family told us that he lost all his belongings, house and vehicle.  Luckily, all member of his family are safe and he is very happy even if he lost everything.

  “To be close to the death make you realize how material things are small” he said.  He realized many things after this disaster.  Though he is sad, he is still happy to be alive and to see his children.  He is enthusiastic about restarting something even he is old.  He also said that his neighbor had lost his wife and son and he didn’t know how he can cope with and how to recover from this tragedy. 

By Cyril Cappai (12:00 Padang Time)


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October 8, 2009 in Indonesia |

Latest News From Padang - upon arrival

Img_5751_low  In Padang city, the water system had been completely collapsed. Rescue teams from France, Germany, New Zeeland are establishing water distribution which covers big part of the need. Unfortunately, they will leave soon and water will remain tremendously big issue in Padang.

  Most part of the Padang and affected surrounding area had lost their power supply. Generator is the only way to get electricity.  Apparently, the electrical system has also been collapsed. Though, we haven’t had precise information yet. 

  Overall, it is estimated that more than one million and half people are affected by the earthquake. The countryside, where is difficult to access, is one of the main priority.

  Tomorrow, we will move to the small villages of the countryside, where are still not accessible.


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October 8, 2009 in Indonesia |


[BREAKING NEWS] JEN has arrived in Padang

JEN Staff have safely arrived in Padang, Sumatra.

   Cyril Cappai (Derector, Overseas Dept)

   Chisa Watanabe (Program Officer, Overseas Dept)


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October 7, 2009 in Indonesia |


[BREAKING NEWS] Devastating Earthquake Hit in Sumarta, Indonesia

On 30 Sep, Huge earthquake had hit in Sumarta, Indonesia.

JEN has immediately decided to dispatch 3 staff members for the emergency aid.


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October 1, 2009 in Indonesia |