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 magnitude and 10km deep with the epicenter in Donggala Regency, close to the provincial capital Palu.
The earthquake triggered a tsunami which reached up to three meters in some areas, striking Talise beach in Palu and Donggala. The earthquakes, tsunami and resulting liquefaction and landslides caused significant damage and loss of life in affected areas.
As of 18 July 2019, the government reported that 4,140 people died in the disaster, of which 1,016 were not identified; and a further 705 people remain missing. More than 4,400 were seriously injured and more than 110,000 houses destroyed, damaged or lost due to the earthquake, tsunami or liquefaction. In its wake, more than 172,000 people were displaced. Currently, some people are living in government-constructed barracks (huntaras), while others take shelter in their damaged homes or with relatives in other communities or within theirs.
At onset of the disaster, assessments as well as delivery of immediate assistance including first aid and basic medical services were carried out alongside search, rescue and retrieval efforts. The emergency response period in Central Sulawesi was extended and officially closed in April 2019. The Government-led response is in the recovery and reconstruction phase but continues to cover immediate relief needs and addressing complex challenges.
Around 170 organizations were or are carrying out recovery activities across 63 location in Central Sulawesi. Priorities include shelter, logistics, economic recovery, medical assistance, clean water, sanitation and hygiene, recovery of infrastructure and public services, 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, however, needs still remain to support early recovery and help the affected population recoup lost assets. Regional and international agencies continue to support national efforts and leadership. Aside from the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, NGOs and the UN are on the ground augmenting the national government’s response.
Summary of the current response
Overview of Host National Society PMI Central Sulawesi was responding on the ground from the onset of the disaster, deploying over 700 volunteers from 14 branches in Central Sulawesi and across Indonesia to support search, rescue and retrieval efforts, the delivery of immediate assistance, conducting assessments, providing field kitchens and medical services, supporting the construction of emergency shelters and provision of clean water. In addition, PMI national headquarters staff, IFRC and Partner National Societies (PNS) in-country immediately deployed personnel to Central Sulawesi to support and accelerate the initial response. Additional volunteers and staff members have also been mobilized and deployed from other provinces to support in the response. PMI, with the support of IFRC, initially set up a base camp to accommodate 350 volunteers. With the directive from the BNPB to PMI to support the management of all relief goods entering Palu, a Relief Cell was established to support PMI to coordinate incoming and distribution of international relief items for the overall operation in Central Sulawesi.
PMI, in its auxiliary role to the Government of Indonesia, is entrusted by leadership to coordinate relief efforts from both international and local NGOs. The decision of the government to set limitations on the presence of international actors and staff — in line with the growing call for the localization of aid — has influenced the direction of the operation.
However, these directives have not hindered the Movement’s capacity to respond as PMI has a central role in the operation. Subsequently, the IFRC and Movement Partners has maintained their role in supporting the host National Society and have ensured the best possible support to PMI. Efforts have also been made to reinforce PMI’s response and increase the assistance provided to affected communities. PMI provided various types of assistance in 20 tent camps from Palu, Dongala and Sigi districts.
As the recovery stage commences, PMI is encouraging the community to actively take ownership and be more involved in repair, recovery and reconstruction efforts.
A comprehensive assessment and analysis of the cross-sector recovery needs was conducted in November 2018 by a joint PMI and IFRC recovery assessment team to support the design of a robust and effective recovery programme.
More detailed findings and recommendations can be found in the Needs analysis, targeting, scenario planning and risk assessment section.