By: Hasan Basri
PALU, TINTABIRU.COM – Not many people knew Petobo in the past, one of the village in the South Palu District, Palu City, Central Sulawesi Province. However, since the devastating earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter Scale in Donggala Regency and the tsunami hit Palu City, on Friday (9/28/18), this area has always been mentioned in various reports and become public discussion.
The densely populated Petobo village is one of the worst affected locations of the earthquake. There are still many victims who have not been evacuated from Petobo after more than a week. It’s unlikely that the victim will survive. Not to mention access to Petobo after the earthquake became difficult to reach.
Geographically, Petobo Village is one of 46 sub-districts in the City of Palu, with an area of 1,040 hectares. This area is directly adjacent to Sigi Regency in the south and east.
In the west, Petobo is adjacent to the South Birobuli Village and is bordered by the North Birobuli Village. Part of the Petobo area is in the Mutiara SIS Al Jufri Airport area.
As reported by the Contributor of LKBN Antara, the Central Bureau of the Republic of Indonesia Moh Ridwan, Petobo has a population of around 13 thousand and is inhabited by the indigenous ethnic Kaili Ledo, which has long mingled with migrants from Bugis, Javanese, Balinese and other ethnic groups.
The topography of Petobo is a valley that is known as the Upper Petobo (Ranjule) and Lower Petobo (Mpanau) The people live in harmony and peace.
Some of the population are farmers, traders, besides civil servants and the private sector, as well as the Indonesian Army / Indonesian Police.
In short, residents and Petobos have daily lives, as are the villages in other regions.
On Friday (28/9) evening, the condition of the road was so crowded, the hustle and bustle of vehicles passed passing on HM Soeharto Street which connected Ngata Baru Village, Sigi Regency. There were some who had just returned from their work place, some were at home, and some were heading to the mosque to perform Maghrib Prayers.
However, the atmosphere that had been crowded and felt normal immediately turned into a terrible situation. Residents scattered after the earth was shaken violently, buildings collapsed due to the earthquake.
The eight-second earthquake immediately released water mixed with mud from the bowels of the earth until there was a wave of mud. The inhabitants were bewildered, the building collapsed, and even moved by itself following the movement of the land mixed with mud that shook from the earthquake.
Paved roads are broken and conical, some are washed away by the movement of land up to tens, even hundreds of meters.
Hajali Tenggo (71 years), one of the residents in Upper Petobo who witnessed the incident told, at that time he was in his bedroom preparing to perform Maggrib Prayers at the mosque which was about 20 meters from his house.
Hajali who had long since died his wife had five children, namely Fatrini, Ijan, Mubarak, Fadli, and the youngest Rika Wahyuni.
At his home, Hajali lives with Fatrini and Rika. In that house also lived a woman named Mira who was a friend of Patrini.
While for Fadli, he lives with his wife, Mira Khairunissa, next to Hajali’s house. Fadli and Khairunissa have been blessed with two children, Bintang and Yeyen. While Mubarak and Ijan lived in their homes with far apart locations, even though they were still in one village.
Hajali and the residents in his house rushed out of the house. Because of the violent shock, Hajali bounced and vacillated left and right while trying to save himself. He managed to get out the back door and save himself.
Bad luck for Rika and Khairunissa. They cannot save themselves. The biological child and son of Hajali’s son-in-law died in the place after being submerged in water and turbulent mud to cover his entire body.
“At that time we were separated, my children and grandchildren were in front of the road while I was beside the house. The youngest child and child helped me stand between two newly built houses,” he said sadly.
Hajali kept trying to find a mooring to hold on to him so that he was not blown away by the shock. He held the stem of the starfruit tightly.
Feeling insecure, Hajali tried to find a safer place but it bounced off right next to the walls of his neighbor’s house. The neighbor’s house moved to follow the movement of the ground to make the left leg pinched by the house.
Hajali tried his best to climb onto the roof of his collapsed board house. At that time the condition of the boarded house where he lived had collapsed.
Hajali watched his son and grandson survive right under the mango tree while trading the tree branch. He witnessed Rika and Khairunissa trapped in the mud. “Help me dad, “pinch me (pinched) me, “Rika’s voice asked Hajali for help. They are about six meters away.
But Hajali could not help the youngest child and son-in-law. The waves of mud came again, Rika did not move because she was pinched and buried in mud while Khairunissa sank.
Hajali tried hard to save Rika from the mud heap. He dug mud with his hands but could not. When the situation calmed down, he asked Fadli for help.
But these efforts have not yielded results. Water mixed with mud is getting higher until partially covers Rika’s face. They continued to struggle to drain the water using their hands, Hajali put the wood just below Rika’s chin so that her face looked up but the water mixed with mud quickly covered Rika’s face.
With difficulty breathing, Rika had asked Hajali to guide the two-sentence greeting when she felt the death and begged forgiveness. “Rika also had time to apologize to me and her siblings before she died,” Hajali said with tears in his eyes. Rika Wahyuni left, died, following Mira Khairunissa.
Hajali felt devastated by the incident but he continued to strengthen his heart to get up. Night increasingly gripped Hajali with his children and grandchildren back on the roof of the house hoping for help.
The catastrophic event was so fast, the ground wave accompanied by mud was less than five minutes to devastate all the buildings and trees until the debris of their house was washed away hundreds of meters.
They are no longer in their initial position at home. In the midst of darkness, they survive only using clothes on the body. The wind blew so hard that it stabbed into the bone, the coldness was even higher, not to mention that the clothes on the body were all soaked.
Not long after, there was a burning house that was swept right in front of them, towards the direction of her child Rika who had died.
Suddenly a small black bucket drifted right next to them. Hajali immediately grabbed the bucket to fill with water and put out the fire. “It turns out that in the bucket there is clean water,” he said.
He also did not extinguish the fire with water. He kept the water in the bucket.
The burning house that was washed away did not burn Rika’s body, but only passed in front of her. During his stay on the roof of the house, Hajali and his family members only consumed the water he got without other food.
Until the next day, around 5:30 a.m., they tried to get out of the location looking for a safer place. They passed a puddle of water almost as high as an adult’s toward the north, with their feet hurt. Hajali continued walking while stabbing the sloping ground for footrests.
To reach dry land that is relatively safe and only about 500 meters away, Hajali must pass through the mud for up to three hours.
Their environmental conditions were severely damaged. “The whole thing is falling apart. The ground is split, the asphalt road is conical as high as half a meter, whereas logically a distance of 500 meters is no more than five minutes on foot,” he said.
It is estimated that thousands of people are still buried in mud material in Petobo. Property is lost without trace. The village in the village is like being swallowed up by the earth. Indeed, no one can confirm when a disaster will come, all by the will of Allah SWT. Sincere, patient, and trustworthy. (*)