The administration of Polewali Mandar in West Sulawesi has instructed all schools in the regency to accept students moving from areas hit by earthquakes and a tsunami in Central Sulawesi at no cost. Polewali Mandar Regent Andi Ibrahim Masdar said his administration had forbidden schools from charging students from the neighboring province.
“We also provide them with school equipment, such as books and uniforms. We even give staple food to their families,” the regent said, as quoted by kompas.com on Sunday.
A number of schools across the regency have accepted students who fled from the disaster-ridden area, such as SD 26 state elementary school in Lantora, which accepted six students. Dozens of students from Central Sulawesi are also studying at state-run junior and senior high schools in the Regency.
“[I’m] happier now, as I can study calmly. I also have lots of new friends here,” said Nurul Nadila, one of the displaced students studying at SD 26 Lantora.
Apart from equipment, teachers at state schools in Polewali Mandar also provide counseling for students suffering from psychological trauma in the wake of the Central Sulawesi disasters. As of Oct. 11, 18,353 people have fled from Central Sulawesi by land, sea or air, according to authorities.
A 7.4-magnitude earthquake jolted the province on Sept. 28, triggering a tsunami and soil liquefaction. At least 2,088 people have been killed and more than 650 are still missing.