Indonesia: Earthquake/Tsunami Appeal No. 11/2000

Originally published



An earthquake followed by a tsunami (tidal wave) struck Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province on 4 May, leaving 41 dead and another 228 injured. The islands of Banggai and Peleng were the worst affected. An estimated 10,500 families lost their homes in the disaster.

After an initial assessment by a team composed of Federation delegates and staff of the Indonesian Red Cross (Palang Merah Indonesia -- PMI) the Federation is appealing for support for a three month operation to assist 3,5000 homeless families (17,500 individuals) on the islands of Banggai and Peleng with non food relief items. It has already released CHF 100,000 from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to enable the operation to begin immediately

The Disaster

An earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale struck Indonesia's eastern Central Sulawesi province at 12.21 p.m. (0421 GMT) on Thursday, 4 May. Although it shook the coastal town of Luwuk on Sulawesi island, two smaller islands, Peleng and Banggai, were the worst affected. The ‘quake also triggered a 5 metre high tsunami that hit the sparsely populated eastern Banggai coast and smaller islets surrounding Banggai.

The affected area is about 2,000 km (1,200 miles) north-east of Jakarta.

The death toll is 41, with 228 persons injured. The earthquake seriously damaged roads, bridges, public buildings, the electricity distribution network and telecommunications. Assessments of the damage and needs are difficult because of the area’s remoteness and the difficulties of overland travel arising from the destruction of roads, but it is estimated that 10,500 family homes were destroyed, 3,500 of them located in the district of Banggai islands, which includes Peleng.

The Response so far

Government Action

The Government of Indonesia has distributed 30 Mt. rice, 300 kg sugar, milk powder and instant noodles on Banggai district islands, where the local district government, established in January this year, does not yet have the organisational infrastructure to cope with the situation.

In Sanggal district on the main island of Sulawesi, where damage is less, the local government is well organised and able to cope with the emergency.

Red Cross/Red Crescent Action

The Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) released 5 Mt. of rice from the stock it maintains with the national government logistics agency. It also despatched medicaments to the affected areas.

The Federation released CHF 100,000 from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on Friday, 12 May.

Other Agencies’ Action

To date, there are no other initiatives, other than donations of small quantities of relief goods by local individuals.


Co-ordination is the responsibility of the head of the district, supported by the district branch of the national co-ordinating agency for natural disasters. PMI is a member of this co-ordinating body.

The Intended Operation

Assessment of Needs

A PMI/Federation assessment mission visited the stricken area from 7 to 11 May, travelling by Navy vessel. Because travel overland was impossible the team used rubber boats to move around the island and so were only able to visit four locations, where they had meetings with the villagers. Several villages were completely submerged by the tidal wave and all houses were destroyed. In other villages damage to housing is between 10% and 60%.

Tens of thousands of villagers, terrified by the quake and some ten aftershocks, have reportedly fled to the safety of higher ground, where they are living in makeshift shelters. On Banggai and Peleng, many are camped in open fields and along roads. In Luwuk, most people have been provided with shelter in school buildings and government offices.

The team determined that the following numbers of families have been left homeless on Banggai and Peleng and are in need of assistance.

Immediate Needs

The team established that the immediate needs are for plastic sheeting for shelter from the rain, sleeping mats, blankets, cooking utensils, water containers, clothes and soap. Since the main component of the local diet is fish and boats are still widely available, food needs are not considered a priority.

Based on the team’s initial assessment, the PMI plans to target 17,500 beneficiaries on the western coast of Banggai island and from Liang along the coast to Sambiut on Peleng island, possibly also including the area between Bonganang and Salakan on this island.

Anticipated Later Needs

Rebuilding of homes could be an important need, but this will only be clear after a further assessment, scheduled for later this week. Materials from many of the damaged homes can be salvaged and bamboo is widely available.

Red Cross Objectives

In a three months operation, to assist 3,500 families who have lost their house and belongings on Peleng and Banggai islands with non-food relief items, such as plastic sheeting, sleeping mats, cooking utensils, soap and water containers.

National Society/Federation Plan of Action

Emergency Phase: May - July 2000

Preparation of beneficiary lists

Procurement of non-food relief goods from Ujung Pandang

Deployment of PMI volunteers and staff (12)

Transport of relief goods by Navy or commercial vessel from Ujung Pandang to Banggai.

Establishment of temporary warehouse in Banggai town

Distribution by boat to targeted villages on Peleng and Banggai islands

Capacity of the National Society

PMI capacity in this remote area of the country is limited. The PMI branch nearest to the stricken area is Poso on the island of Sulawesi . Ten trained volunteers will move from there to Banggai. Two PMI staff from Jakarta and Bali will also be deployed in Banggai.

Present Capacity of the Federation in Indonesia

At present, Federation capacity in Indonesia consists of one Head of Delegation, one community development delegate posted in West-Timor and one health delegate posted in East-Kalimantan. One relief delegate is urgently needed for two months (with a possible extension if the operation is extended in scale).

Didier J. Cherpitel
Secretary General

Jean Ayoub
Acting Under Secretary General,
Disaster Response & Operations Coordination

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