Indonesia emergency – one month on


“I don’t know how I can recover from this. Everything is gone, just gone.”

Image: Medair/ Paola Barioli

On 28 September 2018, local Palu resident Kiki was travelling from her home to her shop in Palu, Central Sulawesi. She witnessed first- hand the destruction of the tsunami waves, washing away buildings and sweeping people under the mud. Alongside thousands of others she is now trying to get back on her feet and begin the painful recovery process from this disaster, but the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia remains in chaos, and torrential rains threaten to spread malaria and dengue fever.

This picture shows the extent of destruction in Palu, Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi. Houses and shops have been completely destroyed. 

A month ago, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck the province of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. The largest quake, in combination with a landslide on the ocean floor, triggered a tsunami that struck Palu Bay. The tsunami, travelling at a speed of 800km per hour, hit land with waves of up to 6 metres. The earthquake also triggered significant levels of land liquefaction across the region – a process where a strong earthquake makes the ground start behaving like a liquid, turning it into a kind of quicksand. Local infrastructure was devastated, over 2,000 people were killed during the tsunami, and some estimates report an additional 5000 missing.

Unity in offering help

An emergency appeal was swiftly launched, coordinated by All We Can with the support of a coalition of concerned organisations; The Methodist Church in Britain; The United Reformed Church; Irish Methodist World Development & Relief and Chiesa Valdese. United in their concern for the thousands of displaced survivors of the disaster urgent fundraising efforts began. To date, over £150,000 has been raised for the Indonesia Emergency Appeal and these funds are being used to meet the critical needs of survivors. All We Can’s Humanitarian Aid Coordinator Laura Cook said of the support, “The response has been amazing. Entire neighbourhoods and communities were left with nothing in Sulawesi, the support for this appeal is enabling us to offer assistance to those who have lost so much. We are thankful to all the individuals, churches and organisations that have answered the call for help so generously.”

“Hundreds-of-thousands were left homeless by the disaster and are now scattered across Palu city, and beyond. Many are left to squat inside their dangerous and ruined homes or to bunker down in makeshift camps open to the elements. The gifts given to this appeal are allowing us to support work to reach people with food, blankets, clothes, monsoon resistant shelters and sanitation items. These materials and tools are life-saving, especially as the monsoon rains set in.”

The continued need for support

The monsoon season poses a risk to tens of thousands of people that have seen their homes flattened or damaged to such an extent that it is not safe for them to return. All We Can is working through its trusted humanitarian aid partners in Sulawesi to distribute essential items to hundreds of people while also working to establish the best way to support longer-term recovery and resilience.

All We Can’s CEO Designate Graeme Hodge said, “We are so grateful to all those who have supported the appeal for their kindness and concern for our global brothers and sisters in Indonesia. There is still much more to be done, we are committed to helping communities in Sulawesi recover from this terrible disaster.”

£23 could provide a hygiene kit to a family, giving them access to bathing items, soap, nappies and sanitation tools.

£50 could give a displaced family enough food for a month.

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