Central Sulawesi Earthquake & Tsunami: Humanitarian Country Team Situation Report #3 (as of 16 October 2018)

Situation Report
Originally published



  • Following the earthquake and tsunami on 28 September, and resulting liquefaction and landslides, 2,096 people are known to have died, 10,679 people have been injured, as of 16 October.

  • Search and rescue operations were stopped on 12 October. According to Indonesia’s national disaster management agency (BNPB), at least 680 people are still missing.

  • Around 79,000 people are internally displaced. At least 15,000 houses have been destroyed, with no prospect of return.

  • The government-led response is underway, with NGOs, the Red Cross and the UN supporting efforts in line with Government priorities.

  • The emergency response period has been extended by the Government for a further two weeks until 26 October.

  • The HCT’s Response Plan, requesting US$ 50.5 million to provide assistance to 191,000 people, is funded at 23 per cent.

  • The United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has committed US$ 15 million to the response.

Situation Overview

On 28 September, a series of strong earthquakes struck Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province, the strongest a 7.4M earthquake only 10 km deep and with its epicentre close to the provincial capital, Palu. The earthquake triggered a tsunami striking beaches in Palu and Donggala. The earthquakes, tsunami and resulting liquefaction and landslides caused significant damage and loss of life.

As of 16 October, 2,096 people are known to have died. A further 10,679 people have been seriously injured. Search, rescue and retrieval efforts have been undertaken by more than 10,000 people from affected communities, Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS), Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) and local government agencies. Search and rescue operations were stopped on 12 October. According to figures released by Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), at least 680 people are still missing.

Areas affected by the earthquake, tsunami, landslides and liquefaction suffered extensive damage of buildings and infrastructure. An estimated 15,000 houses and land have been totally devastated with no perspective of return. An estimated 17,000 houses are heavily destroyed but the sites may allow for reconstruction. Around 35,000 families whose houses have been severely damaged are in need of emergency shelter support for a shorter term. The first damage assessment was based on satellite imagery, and more recent assessment data suggest that the initial figures may be higher. In view of persisting urgent needs, the Governor of Sulawesi, on 11 October, extended the emergency response period for two weeks until 26 October.

More than two weeks after the earthquake, most services in Palu are slowly resuming. Electricity and telecommunications have been re-established across much of the area. Roads are mostly functional, and access to outlying areas has improved. Many roads however are still covered by debris from landslides causing traffic congestion. Shops and markets are opening again but remain crowded. Hospitals are increasingly operational, and psychosocial support services are being conducted in 22 locations. Twenty-five public kitchens have been established, and emergency school units are opening.

While Palu begins the process of recovering from this traumatic series of events and the humanitarian response is well underway, many needs remain. Priorities include logistics and economic recovery, medical assistance, clean water, sanitation and hygiene, recovery of infrastructure and public services, shelter, protection, including child protection and gender-based violence, and education. Debris and damaged structures need to be removed to reduce risk of further damage and accidents.

An estimated 79,000 people are displaced from their homes. Around two thirds are displaced near their homes, and one third is staying with host families, on IDP sites in other villages, or have been evacuated. Many IDP sites remain informal and are overcrowded, with limited access to latrines and water and insufficient lightning, causing protection concerns. Sanitary conditions have significantly deteriorated since the disaster increasing risks of communicable diseases.

The response is led by the Government of Indonesia, with strong support from national NGOs, including 13 members of Humanitarian Forum Indonesia. The international community supports the government’s efforts and leadership, and NGOs the Red Cross and the UN are on the ground augmenting the national response. The Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) has received international assistance from 15 countries, transported by air from Balikpapan to Palu, including generators, mobile power plants, heavy equipment trucks, medical equipment, aircraft spare parts, clean water equipment, sanitary equipment, public kitchens, family tents, food, and blankets.