While aid is finally reaching isolated communities in Indonesia, many Indonesians in Canada are finally finding out the fate of their family members in the disaster zone.
Rocked by back-to-back disasters of an earthquake and a tsunami, the scale of the devastation on Sulawesi island is still being uncovered.
It’s left many Indonesians in Canada in limbo – waiting and wondering if their family members are still alive.
“There is no connection at all, no communication.” Swani Sidharta of Calgary’s Canadian Indonesian Social Club told CTV Calgary.
With power and communication infrastructure knocked out in affected regions, it took days before news from home could reach Canada.
And for some, the news was devastating.
“One of my cousins, he lost his family, wife and 7-year-old boy,” said Serly Lakaoni. “My family already held funerals without the dead body.”
Indonesia’s disaster relief agency says the death toll has climbed to over 1,700, with more than 5,000 people still missing.
But search efforts are expected to end on Thursday.
In the face of tragedy, Calgary’s Indonesian community has come together to support each other.
“It’s quite sad and devastating for me,” said Christma Nathali. “It could be my family too.”
They’re planning a charity event later this month to raise funds for the affected areas.
“They really need help,” said Sidharta. “The situation there is very bad – we just have to do something here.”