Much has been made of the damage to Palu city as a result of the Sept 28 2018 earthquake, tsunami and liquefaction induced debris flows, but less mention is made of impacts in surrounding districts. While on a recent visit to Palu we visited Sigi district which was, and still is, very badly affected.
Sigi district is more rural than Palu and provides a lot of the food (rice and other crops, plus eggs and poultry) for Palu. The earthquakes changed the drainage patterns, ruined irrigation channels and the debris flows have completely ruined arable land.
Gadjah Mada University (UGM) is supporting farmers in Jono Oge village in Sigi by helping with alternative access to water for irrigation, and providing irrigation equipment and seeds for planting. The water level is only 3-4 metres below the surface and boreholes are easily dug. Portable pumps are moved around the different boreholes.
Progress is painfully slow with the provision of permanent housing, livelihoods, schools and water for irrigation. Without the latter, the locals have no opportunity to replant crops. Water is currently not being diverted from the nearby river as the irrigation channels are damaged and there is concern that they contributed to the cause of the liquefaction induced debris flow in the first place.
Thanks to UGM for their initiative in Jono Oge village which is bringing water back to one of the villages in Sigi. Here’s hoping more help comes their way soon.