Singapore’s born-and-bred regional humanitarian NGO, Mercy Relief (MR), completed its reconstruction programme centering on medical facilities and community-based preparedness initiatives for the local communities in quake-hit Padang Pariaman District today.

Addressing the issues of healthcare, water and sanitation, and livelihood (healthcare employment), the project took 20 months to fully reconstruct two severely damaged medical centres, with clean water supplies and proper sanitation systems.  Working with the local health authorities, health cadres were trained in the areas of primary and public healthcare including Maternal & Child care and prevention of outbreak of diseases respectively to boost the healthcare services  there, especially when many healthcare workers had been lost during the 2009 quake.

* A bigger and brighter Registration & Waiting Area.  Educational posters are displayed to instill and increase awareness on pertinent healthcare issues amongst the villagers.   

* Bupati Ali and CE Hassan meeting the resident doctor in the new Consultation Room.                

* New equipment including delivery bed, ultra-sound machine and oxygen supply tanks are provided for the Delivery Room.

* A spacious and well-ventilated Post Natal Room would allow mothers to recover more comfortably.

* The furnished Midwife’s Residence allows for a midwife to stay in and be available to the community 24 hours daily.

A Risk Preparedness & Reduction programme was implemented to create awareness amongst the 7,000 villagers on risks identification & mapping, and appropriate disaster responses including formation of community disaster management committees, safety evacuation drills, community first aid, setting up of temporary evacuation camps and camp management.  In tandem, it helps to increase the capacity of the community in responding to disasters and mitigating their vulnerabilities to these natural calamities.  The completion ceremony, which was attended by District Regent (Bupati) H Ali Mukhni and MR Chief Executive Hassan Ahmad, also saw the handing over of 10 units of MR’s latest manual-powered mobile water filtration systems, PedalPure (which produces 700litres of clean water per hour), as part of the community disaster preparedness to address the common but critical issue of access to safe water.

Mr Hassan explained, “Padang (West Sumatra) shares the same coastline as  Aceh, which are highly prone to disasters which include earthquakes and tsunamis. Hence, It is not a question of ‘if’ but more of ‘when’ the next disaster will strike.  Just a few days ago, the major 8.9 Richter quake that occurred is a stark reminder of how vulnerable this community is.  As such, this preparedness mentality and culture that we have instilled in them during this reconstruction efforts will put them in better stead to face future threats.  This has been MR’s philosophy in helping communities across the region.”

(left) Ties of Two CitiesMR CE Hassan and Padang Pariaman’s Regent Ali Mukhni endorsing the project plaques to be showcased on each of the Puskesmas (medical centre).

(right) Cutting a better shape of Healthcare – The Puskesmas in Koto Hilalang sub-district was officially opened by MR CE
and Bupati Padang Pariaman.

Together with Indonesian partner Lembaga Pengkajian dan Pemberdayaan Masyarakat (LP2M), an NGO which focused on development and enhancement of community organisations, the SGD280,000 project benefited close to 2,000 families from Alahan Tabek and Koto Hilalang sub-districts.

The Padang quake in September 2009 affected 12 districts in West Sumatra, causing a total death toll of more than 1,100 people and close to 3,000 others injured.  MR responded within 48 hours from the appeal for international assistance by the West Sumatran government and provided basic survival needs such as food, water, medical supplies, blankets and tarpaulins as shelters for the victims.  A medical evacuation service was immediately set up to help transport rescued victims from the remote areas to medical facilities for attention.  Two medical relief teams, with personnel from the Singhealth Group, ran static and mobile clinics at remote affected areas during the 1-month acute phase.   In the rehabilitation phase, 2 temporary schools were established to address the children’s psycho-sosio needs.  Close to S$800,000 has been expended to help address the needs of the survivors during the acute, rehabilitation and reconstruction stages.

The first MR team to Padang was dispatched simultaneously, within two hours, with two other MR aid deployments to the Philippines and Vietnam which were hit by Typhoon Ketsana.

(left) Bottoms-up & Cheers – Bupati Ali drinking the freshly filtered water generated by the children’s pedaling efforts. 10 units of the PedalPure have been presented to Padang Pariaman District’s Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) as part of the preparedness mechanism.

(right) Fun but Serious – Children excitedly swarming the PedalPure, a water filtration system that looks fun but has serious impact on accessibility to clean water in the event of a disaster

Click here to watch coverage from Channel NewsAsia.

About Mercy Relief

Mercy Relief is a Singaporean humanitarian organisation which engages in both disaster relief and sustainable development programmes. It was established in 2003 as an independent non-governmental humanitarian charity responding to the human tragedies in Asia. Mercy Relief’s aid programme focuses on providing timely and effective assistance to disaster-stricken communities and has maintained the delivery of emergency aid within 72 hours from the point of appeal for assistance.  

In the past 12 years, Mercy Relief has disbursed over S$32 million in aid across 40 disaster relief and 53 sustainable development initiatives. Mercy Relief has impacted an aggregate of 2 million lives in 24 countries and areas, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, DPR Korea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal,  Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Yemen.

For more information, you may call us at 6514 6322 or email corporateaffairs@mercyrelief.org