TEN thousand people affected by a devastating earthquake in Palu, Indonesia have been given access to clean water thanks to a Chilmark-based disaster response charity.

Team Rubicon UK (TRUK) sent out water purifying kits and have been sharing their expertise with charities responding to the disaster.

Six water purifiers are providing clean water to several camps in areas surrounding Palu for those who have lost their homes in the Indonesian disaster.

Paul Taylor, who is the team leader for the operation in Palu, said: “It’s been quite challenging but extremely rewarding to see the team on the ground sending back the video clips of the water being delivered to people who haven’t had it for quite a period of time. As is normally the case all the hard work at some point you can see come to fruition and it’s all worthwhile.”

Two volunteers trained a local charity in the region how to use the equipment, which has provided clean water to more than 10,000 people.

The first earthquake hit the town of Palu on September 28 and TRUK supported the National Disaster Mitigation Agent by flying drones to assess the damage in the remote villages.

The earthquake was the worst to hit the region since 2006 and left many dead.

Volunteers have been providing help and support from Jakarta on how to use the water purifying kits as well as “building relationships” through liaising with the different agencies, charities and organisation involved in the relief efforts.

“That is what it is all about for us [sharing skills and expertise],” added Paul.

Paul, who flew out to Jakarta before heading to Palu about 24-hours after the disaster hit, describes seeing homes “flattened”, adding: “I’ve been to quite a lot of these disasters, from an ex-soldier it looks like a bomb has been dropped on the place.”

He said: “The situation now is that things are improving thankfully but it takes time.”

Paul says the recovery could take up to three years or even longer.

TRUK is aiming for its remaining volunteers to return to the UK later this week but the Chilmark-based charity will continue to maintain links with the charities it has been working with in Palu to monitor the success of the water purification kits, recording how many people have been helped as a result.

TRUK is also looking at whether the kits can be moved to Lombok, also hit by an earthquake.