RedR Responds: Indonesia earthquake and tsunami

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On Friday 28 September 2018 a series of earthquakes rocked the province of Central Sulawesi in Indonesia, causing widespread devastation and triggering a tsunami which hit the coastal city of Palu.

Liquefied soil, brought about by the earthquake, destroyed thousands of buildings in and around Palu; satellite images of the Petobo district, south of Palu’s airport, showed a large area of urban development seemingly wiped clear of buildings. More than 2,100 people are confirmed dead and 82,000 displaced, with numbers set to rise as the humanitarian response to the disaster continues.

RedR has an existing presence in Indonesia, allowing for a quick response to the disaster. A team of 3 national RedR staff are currently in Palu responding to the crisis, supported by HQ staff who are operating between Jogja and Jakarta.

The earthquake caused significant damage to the water distribution pipelines in Palu and the surrounding area, and there is an urgent need to restore clean water supply services. RedR is collaborating with Unicef and the Indonesian Ministry of Public Work and Housing in the WASH cluster. Staff members are working in coordination and supply chain management within the cluster to help provide safe, clean drinking water to the affected population. 

Meanwhile, other collaborations with the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration, the network of Oxfam partners and Save the Children are helping to clean up the vast amount of debris caused by the earthquake.

Effects of liquefaction in Balaroa, Indonesia Photo Xavos Kairos
Effects of liquefaction in Balaroa, Indonesia Photo Xavos Kairos

Coordinating the emergency response

With a large number of actors engaged in the emergency response, including NGOs, INGOs, local and national government and the Indonesia military, good coordination and communication is essential to understand and meet the needs of the affected population. RedR staff are working to strengthen information management and have helped to facilitate collaborative activities between the Data Information and Public Relations Centre of the BNPB (The National Agency for Disaster Countermeasure in Indonesia), the TNI Task Force and the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Board. They are also working to improve information management, starting with mapping all existing evacuation posts by mobilising Central Sulawesi NU’s volunteers and students from Tadulako University.

RedR staff on the ground in Palu report that the affected population is still traumatised by the disaster. With the rainy season approaching, survivors who have had their homes and lives devastated by the earthquake and are living in camps are now increasingly vulnerable.

RedR UK Responds

Thanks to generous donations to our emergency appeal, RedR UK is responding to address both the immediate needs of the affected population in Indonesia and to strengthen national capacity to ensure communities are better prepared to respond to future disasters. We are now preparing to send a team member to Indonesia to train national staff in camp management and coordination, helping to give immediate support those displaced by the earthquake. RedR UK staff will also conduct a series of ‘Training of Trainers’ workshops for national staff, helping to build capacity on the ground in Indonesia and ensuring that skills remain in-country for the long-term, ready for future disasters.

Widespread destruction in Balaroa, Indonesia. Photo by  Xavo Kairo
Widespread destruction in Balaroa, Indonesia. Photo by Xavo Kairo