On 28 September, a series of strong earthquakes struck Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province, the strongest a 7.4 M earthquake only 10 km deep and with its epicentre close to the provincial capital, Palu. The earthquake triggered a tsunami whose waves reached up to three metres in some areas, striking beaches in Palu and Donggala. The earthquakes, tsunami and resulting liquefaction and landslides have caused significant damage and loss of life in affected areas.
Following the earthquake, tsunami and landslides in Central Sulawesi, 2,010 people are known to have died, a further 10,700 people have been seriously injured and 671 people are still missing, as of 9 October (BNPB.) Infrastructure and basic services have been affected, with 2,700 schools, 20 health facilities and 99 religious buildings reportedly damaged (BNPB).
The areas that sustained the most severe damage are those that suffered from liquefaction or landslides. In these villages, the earth has been forced up by five metres, taking vehicles and houses with it. As logistical challenges are resolved, access into affected areas is improving, and the humanitarian response is being scaled up. In line with Government priorities, the UN, NGOs and Red Cross are on the ground supporting government-led efforts.
In response to the Government’s decision to accept international assistance in identified areas, as well as the sector-specific requests by the line ministries, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) in Indonesia developed and launched the Central Sulawesi Earthquake Response Plan2 on 5 October 2018.
The Response Plan is focused on providing targeted technical assistance in support of the Government-led response in the areas prioritized and requested by Government, including Early Recovery, Education, Food Security, Health, Logistics, Protection, Shelter and Camp Management, and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
Targeting some 191,000 of the most vulnerable people among the 537,000 people directly affected by the earthquake, tsunami and landslides and liquefaction, the plan requests US$ 50.5 million to fund urgent action over the next three months.
The strategic objectives identified in the Response Plan are to:
Deliver immediate, life-saving assistance to those in the most urgent need in line with national priorities and in support of the Government response;
Provide humanitarian logistics capacity to augment Government efforts to ensure people in need can access humanitarian assistance;
Ensure that conditions of safety and dignity are restored for the most vulnerable people and that they are able to access urgently-needed assistance.
The Response Plan is not intended to meet the totality of needs following the disaster; the Government is well placed to lead the response and will continue to provide the bulk of humanitarian assistance. Instead, the Response Plan reflects the specific areas where the Government of Indonesia has requested or accepted international assistance, or where agencies are scaling up existing programmes to meet the new humanitarian needs following this recent disaster.
Collective Accountability and Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
In support of Government priorities, the Response Plan ensures the collective commitments made by aid agencies under the Inter- Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Commitments on Accountability to Affected Populations and Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS) and the Grand Bargain are met, providing a quality control for its support provided to the Government.
These include supporting the Government to:
Provide information to affected communities about humanitarian agencies’ activities;
Ensure humanitarian agencies’ decisions are informed by the views of affected communities;
Enable affected communities to assess and comment on agencies’ performance in support of the government.
Several UN agencies and NGOs, as well as the Red Cross family, have experience implementing feedback mechanisms for more comprehensive engagement with disaster-affected communities in Indonesia. This experience will be required to strengthen collective approaches to gathering, analysing and responding to community feedback. Further, the Response Plan will seek to support Government feedback systems that are already in place.
The approach draws on experiences of collective service approaches established and run as part of responses in support of governments in the Philippines, Bangladesh and Nepal. Specifically, the approach supports:
• Improved strategic focus: Support to strategic and operational coordination through crosssectoral community feedback on needs, concerns and priorities. This is presented to senior humanitarian managers regularly through a single and easily accessible mechanism.
• Improved quality of engagement with communities: Communities are informed about how to access relief and services, ensuring that communities are less likely to feel frustration or anger towards partners working to support the government-led efforts.
• Improved efficiency: Coordinating with partners through common aggregation and analysis of community feedback and having agreement on common messages mitigates gaps, duplication and inaccurate information being shared with communities.
Organisations, including different parts of government, HCT members and other local and national responders often have their own community engagement practices focused on those who directly benefit from their activities.
However, collective approaches have a broader focus on the views, feedback and complaints of people across the totality of the response, including those who may not be receiving assistance.
Further, they support efforts to coordinated and harmonise information flow to and from communities so that the Government and other humanitarian leadership at the country level receive regular information required to trigger decisions and adaptive programming.
Collective approaches do not replace existing agencies’ individual community engagement practices, rather they augment and support existing capacities. For response managers, collective approaches help develop a common understanding of overall needs and preferences of affected people, identifying where gaps exist and guiding the prioritisation of sectors.
In other contexts, collective accountability approaches, including where action is required for the Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA), have included some of the following elements integrated into the localized model that could be considered in this context:
• Support advocacy for and the integration of communications landscape and people’s information needs and preferences into planned joint assessments;
• Conduct regular surveys of affected people’s perceptions to provide an overall picture across the humanitarian response;
• Track rumours and provide appropriate responses to affected population;
• Coordinate the provision of information and messaging to address community information needs;
• Support and coordinate collective approaches such as public hotlines and feedback mechanisms including those that handle PSEA complaints and response;
• Aggregate data and feedback collected from affected populations to identify gaps in the overall response; and • Provide humanitarian leadership at Palu and country level with the concise information required to trigger decisions and adaptive programming.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.