CRS responds to latest Indonesian tsunami following back-to-back emergencies

from Catholic Relief Services
Published on 02 Jan 2019 View Original

CRS is supporting local partners on the islands of Java and Sumatra after a December 22 tsunami swept through dozens of coastal communities

BALTIMORE, MD, January 2, 2019 – Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is supporting our local partners in Indonesia following a December 22, 2018 tsunami that killed more than 400 people on the islands of Java and Sumatra. The tsunami, which was triggered by an eruption of the Anak Krakatau volcano, comes after two other serious disasters crippled parts of Indonesia earlier in 2018, including an earthquake that hit the island of Lombok in July and an earthquake and tsunami that hit the island of Sulawesi in September.

“Our teams are working with local partners on the ground to quickly identify the most urgent needs, complementing the government's rapid search and rescue efforts,” said Caroline Brennan, communications director for CRS’ emergency response team. “Led by local organizations, our response addresses people’s immediate needs – like food and temporary shelter – while we also consider the longer-term recovery from this disaster.”

The December 22 tsunami devastated coastal areas of Banten Province in western Java and Lampung Province in southern Sumatra, leaving thousands missing and more than 20,000 people displaced. According to reports, many of those who died in the tsunami were people who had traveled to the areas to sell their wares ahead of the holidays.

“People whose homes were destroyed are staying in evacuation centers or in relatives’ homes away from the coastal areas while those in the evacuation centers are sleeping alongside families who still have homes, but who fear another possible tsunami while the volcano is still active,” Brennan said.

CRS has also invested in disaster preparedness programs in vulnerable communities—those hit cyclically by floods, droughts, typhoons, or increasingly by the effects of climate change. Among other benefits, these programs give communities the skills and tools they need to be able to effectively respond to disasters. They also improve the use of new technologies in local disaster response efforts.

“Preparing in advance for a crisis helps families protect their assets so they can get back on their feet faster, keep communities afloat, and protect lives by simply knowing what to do when, and before, disaster strikes,” Brennan said. “These successive disasters in Indonesia highlight the vital, life-saving work that local organizations are doing all over the world to become more resilient in the face of emergencies.”


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, visit or and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media: Facebook, Twitter at @CatholicRelief, @CRSnews and @CRSnoticias, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

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