Reporting to Sulawesi: Touch Down, Palu



January 14th, 2019

07.00 o’clock. Selamat datang, Bumi Tadulako. Touch down at Palu, Central Sulawesi.

After flying for three hours, finally the plane (Garuda Indonesia) that took me from Jakarta was landed at Mutiara Airport, Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.

I stepped out of the plane with a weird feeling. I could not believe that I did this professional project at Palu. I still remembered the first time dreaming about the incident, talked to Mba Adem about that and not long after that, she was assigned to report to Palu with BBC international team. I observed my fellow journalists covering the tsunami at Palu passionately on Facebook while writing my proposal on water scarcity reporting project at the campus library.

Mutiara Sis Al Jufri Airport, Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photo: Utami D.Kusumawati

Then, like it meant to be, every thing changed and out of nowhere I was at Palu already reporting the recovery process in the capital city of Central Sulawesi.

The inside of the Palu airport, Palu, Central Sulawesi. Photo: Utami D.Kusumawati

Palu is undergoing a recovery and healing process. Everything is screwed. You can tell from the first time you arrive at its airport. The shattered building, broken glasses, dusts, collapsed roofs, and chaotic arrangement of everything. Then, the rubbish from collapsed buildings like malls, hotels, are still there. Untouched. Victims buried underneath the collapsed buildings haven’t been evacuated up to now. Every one is scared that the building will collapse during the process of evacuation.

Palu is starting it’s redevelopment process but it goes very slowly. People already do their daily activities, but many others are still jobless.

I met with Bang Ochan (Ruslan Sangadji) from The Jakarta Post who is the member of Palu-based Independent Journalist Alliance (AJI). We went to a street stall to have breakfast and I met with several people including local journalists and the head of Palu based Ombudsman there. We chit chatted over milk coffee and yellow rice (this is how the local people gather and socialize).

After that, I came back to my hotel to have a short rest before going out to capture photos and videos from some places here.

I felt a bit tired actually after having a long haul flight from the U.S. and had another flight from Jakarta to Palu. Hopefully after having a short rest at hotel, I would feel better before starting interviewing and taking video of the head of BMKG and Ombudsman.

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