Description of the disaster
On 28 September 2018, a series of strong earthquakes struck Central Sulawesi Province. The strongest of which measured at 7.4 M earthquake and was just 10km deep with its epicentre in Donggala Regency, close to the provincial capital Palu. The earthquake triggered a tsunami whose waves reached up to three metres in some areas, striking Talise beach in Palu and Donggala. The earthquakes, tsunami and resulting liquefaction and landslides have caused significant damage and loss of life in affected areas.
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. Some 17,000 houses are heavily destroyed but the sites may allow for reconstruction. Around 35,000 families whose houses have been damaged need emergency shelter support for a shorter term. More detailed assessments will have to further confirm these estimates. BNPB puts the total cost of material damages at USD 910 million.
As of 7 November, more than 2,000 died in the disaster and a further 1,300 people are still missing. More than 4,400 have been seriously injured and more than 68,000 houses have been severely damaged or destroyed by the earthquake, tsunami or liquefaction, leaving over 170,000 people still displaced by the disaster and are staying in displacement sites with limited access to life-saving services.
The official emergency response period in Central Sulawesi ended on 26 October. The government also declared that from 26 October to 25 December, it will be a transition period. While the Government-led response will now progressively transition into the recovery and reconstruction phase, the focus will also simultaneously continue covering humanitarian needs and addressing complex challenges.
More than six weeks after the disaster, 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 women’s and children’s protection, and education. Humanitarian response has made significant progress in reaching and serving the people in need of assistance. Regional and international agencies continue to support national efforts and leadership. NGOs, the Red Cross and the UN are on the ground augmenting the national response.
Summary of the current response
Overview of Host National Society
As was the case in Lombok, in Central Sulawesi PMI were present and responding on the ground from the onset, deploying over 1,100 volunteers from branches in Central Sulawesi and across Indonesia as of 7 November 2018 to support the operation. These volunteers are running clinics (mobile and fixed) and referrals, setting up emergency shelter sites, distributing water and relief items, among other things. PMI also has a growing fleet in the field, including helicopters for hard-to-reach areas and at least 16 water trucks, with more coming.
PMI continues to deliver assistance to the best of its abilities, and IFRC technical specialists, including Emergency Response Units (ERUs) and Field Assessment and Coordination Team (FACT) members, were deployed in the case of Sulawesi to shore up technical support and coordination in response to added responsibilities delegated to PMI by the National Disaster Management Agency (Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana – BNPB) such as the reception and distribution of relief items received through the government-to-government pipeline, in addition to managing those coming through the Red Cross Red Crescent channel as well.
PMI with the support of the IFRC ERU from the Italian Red Cross has completed the setup of a basecamp which can accommodate up to 300 volunteers. The basecamp was completed on 31 October and PMI volunteers and staff started to move in since 1 November. Sleeping tents, water, showers, latrines and electricity are functioning at the basecamp.
The following infographic indicates the sectoral highlights on initial emergency relief phase and services provided by PMI through the support of the IFRC and the partner national societies as of 7 November 2018.
Overview of Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in country
IFRC has a Country Cluster Support Team (CCST) for Indonesia and Timor Leste consisting of a head of office and technical capacities in disaster management, health, water, sanitation and hygiene, National Society development (including protection, gender and inclusion - PGI), communication, community engagement and accountability (CEA) and support services in finance, human resources and administration.
PMI works with the IFRC and ICRC as well as PNS in-country including the American Red Cross, Australian Red Cross and Japanese Red Cross Society. All these partners are coordinating with PMI as the Movement’s lead agency for both operations in Lombok and Sulawesi and contributing towards PMI One Plan.
The Japanese Red Cross has been supporting the implementation of the health activities, specifically a clinic in Tompe and also distribution of mosquito nets. The Turkish Red Cross has been playing a role in relief distribution, setting up tents and supplying non-food items (NFIs). The German Red Cross has a representative in Palu, providing additional support with main objective to identify funding opportunities. The American Red Cross has provided staff from its delegation in Jakarta to support admin and shelter/relief assessments.
Information sharing, and coordination meetings are led by PMI and have taken place since the first earthquake. A proactive approach is maintained regarding engagement with the international media so that the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s response is well-profiled and resource mobilization efforts are supported.
Movement coordination meetings are conducted with partner National Societies and ICRC to discuss the response to date and how to best support the National Society’s continued efforts in a coordinated manner. Bilateral support from sister National Societies including Singapore Red Cross, Turkish Red Crescent, Malaysian Red Crescent, Kuwait Red Crescent, German Red Cross, Hong Kong branch of the Red Cross Society of China, Turkish Red Crescent Society and Qatar Red Crescent were also provided to PMI in-country.
Global and regional tools have been activated and number of human resources have been mobilized since the onset of the disaster. IFRC deployed a field coordinator and several technical specialists to Palu to support PMI’s response. Staff from the CCST office in Jakarta, Field Assessment and Coordination Team, and Emergency Response Units in key support services including information technology and telecommunications (IT&T), logistics and basecamp, were quickly alerted and deployed. The team formation and composition will be reviewed according to the operation needs as it evolves.