Indonesia tsunami and earthquake response explained

12 November 2018

Caritas Aid workers delivering aid after the Indonesia Tsunami

Our Caritas aid workers on the ground in Indonesia have a wealth of experience responding to this type of disaster and are already present in two dioceses near the affected area

What has happened?

Please give now and help us reach vulnerable families

The 7.5 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck Central Sulawesi Province, Indonesia on 28 September 2018, caused more than 2,100 deaths, and over 11,000 people were seriously injured.

Potentially, two million people have been affected across 85 districts, and over 220,000 people are displaced in evacuation centres or informal camps, with many more staying with relatives or friends.

Our Caritas aid workers on the ground have a wealth of experience responding to this type of disaster and are already present in two dioceses near the affected area - Makassar in South Sulawesi and Manado in North Sulawesi.

They are being supported by our sister agency Catholic Relief Service (CRS) who are already addressing the immediate needs of survivors, with relief supplies, including tarps, blankets, and sleeping mats and also sanitation and clean-up kits.

CAFOD supporters have already raised over £200,000 to help the communities who are most in need. 

CAFOD’s Director, Chris Bain said:

“I have been horrified by the devastation of the tsunami in Indonesia. So many lives have been lost and affected by this disaster, there is so much to do.

“Our local colleagues in Indonesia are doing their utmost to provide the basics – clean drinking water, food, and shelter - for people to survive over the coming days and weeks.

“We are already receiving donations from the Catholic community across England and Wales. 

“With the support of the British public and the DEC, our sister agencies on the ground will continue to work around the clock to ensure that families in some of the remotest areas are not beyond reach of vital emergency aid.”   

How have people been affected?

The latest official figures report that the death toll from the disaster is at least 1,948, more than 60,000 people have been made homeless, and 200,000 people are in need of urgent life-saving aid.

The Indonesian authorities are warning that thousands more people could have perished after waves of up to 20 feet hit the city of Palu- which is home to more than 300,000 people.

The priority now is to reach the worst affected communities, many of which have been cut off by landslides and road blockages. 

What are the humanitarian needs?

Caritas Indonesia loading trucks up with aid

Caritas Indonesia loading trucks up with aid outside a church, ready to be taken to Palu. 

The immediate needs for vulnerable families are the basics of life to survive over the coming days and weeks.

Families who have lost everything will need clean drinking water and food, shelter – tents tarpaulin, and blankets - medical and health services, alongside solar and fuel oil, due to fuel shortages.

Please donate now

Despite the challenges, local aid workers are doing all they can to reach people. We received this report from our CRS aid worker Fatwa Fadillah who is on the ground just outside of Palu:

“In Balaroa village, on the outskirts of Palu, everything is destroyed. The streets are ruined and there’s no water or sanitation facilities for people gathered in shelters. Most families only have one tarp and one mat. 

“At Talise beach, where the tsunami came ashore, it’s a scene of devastation and search and rescue teams are still looking for survivors. All along the coast, you can see just how massive the tsunami was and the extent of the damage. Body bags are lining the road and the smell is almost unbearable.

“It’s extremely hot and most people are sitting under tarps, (tarpaulin) just waiting. They’re waiting for aid and the sun to go down. They have nothing to do but wait.”

Is aid getting through to those most in need?

There are challenges including roads that have been blocked from landslides. We've received reports that Caritas aid workers are making journeys on foot where roads are blocked by debris. The Indonesian authorities are working on clearing the roads, so that aid deliveries are able to get to where they are needed most. 

How is CAFOD responding?

Caritas Indonesia preparing to distribute aid in Palu.

Caritas Indonesia preparing to distribute aid in Palu to families affected by the earthquake and tsunami. 

CAFOD joined forces with the DEC to allow our Caritas colleagues to scale up their emergency response. So far, the DEC Indonesia tsunami appeal has raised over £23 million to help families across the affected region.   

Thanks to the funds raised, we have been able to reach some of the most vulnerable families, traumatised by disaster and in urgent need.

In the days and weeks following the disaster, our Caritas aid workers were already working in Palu and other affected areas to support communities - transporting 7 tons of rice, canned sardines, 500 boxes of drinking water, 250 packages of blankets, hygiene kits, water buckets, tarpaulins, mats and sarongs, and have begun distributions. 

Over the next six months CAFOD will be working with agencies on the ground - Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Caritas Indonesia (Karina) and other local partners - to provide cash assistance to help people rebuild their homes and sanitation facilities.

We are working with communities in Donggala, Palu and Sigi within Central Sulawesi, which suffered high rates of structural damage from the disaster.

The project will also provide technical training on ‘Building Back Safer’ techniques to ensure people are able to build homes that can withstand future disasters. 

How are you coordinating your response with others?

As a member of Caritas International, we are coordinating closely with other Catholic agencies to ensure that our response is as efficient and effective as possible.

Caritas Indonesia has an existing network of staff and volunteers in two dioceses near the affected area - Makassar in South Sulawesi and Manado in North Sulawesi - and they are working with our Caritas colleagues, and liaising with the Indonesian government and UN agencies, to get help to those who need it most.

As part of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), we work together with fourteen major British aid agencies to ensure that we are not duplicating our efforts.

How much of my donation goes towards administrative costs?

With regard to costs, 90p in every pound donated is spent on delivering our charitable activities – 81p on overseas programmes, 9p on the support costs required to run the organisation, and 10p on fundraising.

How can I help?

You can donate through our Indonesia tsunami donate page

You can call the CAFOD Hot Line 08085 85 88 85 and someone will take your donation

Or you can post your donation to CAFOD, 55 Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7JB

Please keep the people of Indonesia in your thoughts and prayers

Back to top