2018 Indonesia earthquake: Facts and FAQs

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Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami, Sept. 28

Less than two months after a deadly earthquake struck Indonesia’s Lombok island, a massive quake hit the island nation’s Central Sulawesi province. The magnitude-7.5 temblor struck at 5:02 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, generating a devastating tsunami. More than 800 people have been killed and the death toll is likely to rise, according to the national disaster mitigation agency. At least 500 people are seriously injured.

“We are learning that the earthquake and tsunami has killed hundreds of people with fears that this number could grow. We are deeply concerned about the impact of this on children who at this stage will be terrified of the aftershocks and struggling to cope with the uncertainty and loss of loved ones. Our own staff have been affected and their own homes damaged,” says World Vision’s Doseba Sinay, national director for Indonesia.

“Ensuring that survivors have their immediate needs met with adequate shelter, food and water will be critical over the coming days,” Doseba says. “It will also be crucial to ensure children are cared for. Our past experience of dealing with quakes has shown that children will be deeply distressed and feel vulnerable if they have lost family members, homes or have lost their sense of security.”

World Vision has pre-positioned relief supplies in Palu, the Central Sulawesi capital, which includes hygiene supplies and kits for families and children. We expect to focus our disaster response on food, shelter, nutrition, child protection, and water and sanitation.

We have several projects in Central Sulawesi province serving more than 5,000 sponsored children.

Lombok earthquake, Aug. 5

A deadly magnitude-6.9 earthquake struck Indonesia’s resort island of Lombok at 6:46 p.m. local time on Sunday, Aug. 5, killing at least 430 people and injuring more than 1,300 others. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, rendered homeless amid hundreds of powerful aftershocks, one on Aug. 9 registering a magnitude-5.9. The Aug. 9 aftershock caused more “trauma,” says national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. More than 67,000 houses and 600 schools are damaged.

“Now more than 90 percent [of] buildings are damaged or destroyed,” says Bevita Meidityawati, World Vision’s response team leader in North Lombok. “Everyone is staying in open areas in their villages or mov[ing] to higher ground. Many are huddled together under large group tents. People need emergency shelter, food, clean water, and medicines. The children are terrified. Over 400 schools are closed because of earthquake damage.”

About 1 million people reportedly live near the epicenter of the magnitude-6.9 quake. It was the second deadly earthquake to rock Lombok since July 29; an earlier earthquake occurred on Sunday, July 29, killing 16 people.

“Everyone in Lombok is panicked and on edge,” says Margarettha Siregar, humanitarian and emergency affairs director for World Vision in Indonesia. “They’ve been experiencing these earthquakes for over a week now.”

Due to the region’s seismic activity, World Vision staff in Indonesia have conducted earthquake emergency preparedness training since July 3. Although World Vision staff are in the area, World Vision does not have programs or sponsored children on Lombok Island. The nearest World Vision project is located in Surabaya, more than 350 miles away — an hour by airplane from the affected area.

The Aug. 5 earthquake was the biggest temblor to strike Lombok Island; six other earthquakes of magnitude-6.5 or greater were recorded over the previous century. The 2018 quake was so powerful, people on the island of Bali, more than 100 miles east, were rattled.

2018 Indonesia earthquake and tsunami location map shows affected area and the point of impact in Central Sulawesi. (©2018 U.S. Geological Survey)

FAQs: What you need to know about the 2018 Indonesia earthquakes

Explore frequently asked questions about the Indonesia earthquake on Sunday, Aug. 5 and Friday, Sept. 28, and learn how you can help children and families impacted by the earthquakes and tsunami.

Where did the Indonesia earthquakes hit?

The Aug. 5, 2018 Indonesia earthquake was centered nearly 2 miles southeast of Loloan, Indonesia, located on Lombok Island. It triggered a tsunami warning, according to the Indonesian’s Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysical Agency, but the tsunami warning was soon lifted.

The Sept. 28 earthquake was centered 17 miles northeast of Donggala, Central Sulawesi, and triggered a damaging tsunami.


How can I help victims of the Indonesia earthquakes?

World Vision staff are mobilizing and responding to deliver relief supplies to affected communities as quickly and safely as possible.

  • Give: Consider helping us continue the flow of emergency supplies by donating to World Vision’s Indonesia earthquake relief fund.
  • Pray: Join us in praying for people affected by the earthquake as well as for World Vision staff and emergency responders have begun operations. Almighty Father, we ask for Your mercy on those affected by the earthquake. Protect people. Guide aid workers and emergency responders in the hard-hit areas and as relief measures begin in earnest.