Indonesia: Sulawesi Earthquakes and Tsunami, Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) n° MDRID013


This operation update reflects the achievements of the past 20 months (up to 12 June 2020) and informs of the publication of the revised Central Sulawesi emergency plan of action (EPOA).

The revision of the Central Sulawesi EPOA was necessitated by changes in the operational environment due to the impacts of COVID-19 on communities that were affected by the earthquakes and tsunami as well as on field activities. There are activities that will continue as planned while some have to be postponed or cancelled. The revision also incorporates plans to mitigate health risks to PMI and IFRC field personnel, responses to mitigate health and secondary socio-economic impacts of the pandemic on the vulnerable population affected by earthquake and tsunami, and the expected timeframe of government regulations on preventive measures aiming to reduce transmission of the virus.

Major changes in the plan of action (from 2nd revision):

• Multi-purpose cash grants: increased number of households to receive assistance by 750 (9,250 HH in total)

• Livelihoods: removal of small business support; postponement of vocational training

• Health: removal of ERU training and EMT warehouse construction; postponement of health trainings and blood donation campaign; procurement of PPEs for PMI staff and volunteers (including ambulance personnel)

• WASH: postponement of rehabilitation of water facilities in schools and communities, as well as corresponding WASH software sessions in schools and communities; inclusion of 40,000 units of “selfdisinfection kits” (in response to COVID-19 pandemic at household level)

• DRR: reduction of target villages from 24 to 16; postponement of DRR activities until community-based gatherings are allowed to resume.

• Overall target households increased from 20,000 to 40,000 households as “self-disinfection kits” will be provided more broadly.

Description of the disaster

Updated information on damages and impacts 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 epicentre 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. Of these, 27,662 houses were severely damaged while more than 6,500 were lost (mainly due to liquefaction). In its wake, almost 173,000 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.

More than 320 district and community-based health facilities plus 1,300 schools were also damaged. The status of government response is on the recovery phase.

COVID-19 in Indonesia and Central Sulawesi province

On 13 April 2020, the government declared a state of emergency for COVID-19 as a non-natural disaster in Indonesia. The number of confirmed cases has continued to increase significantly since the announcement of the first two cases in March 2020. Based on Indonesia Ministry of Health data until 10 June 2020, 34,316 people have tested positive, of which 1,959 cases have been fatal. The Indonesian Ministry of Health on 10 March 2020 activated 132 referral hospitals in 33 provinces for COVID-19 case management. The government also established an emergency hospital for COVID-19 quarantine and treatment in Galang Island of Riau Islands Province.

The declaration allows the government to invoke powers to ease of entry of international aid, as well as to generate or allocate funds to respond to the pandemic. The president also formed the COVID-19 acceleration Task Force, with the Head of BNPB (National Agency of Disaster Management) as leading the task force. BNBP stated a 91-day emergency status on the pandemic starting from 29 February until 29 May 2020. Task forces have also been established for 25 provinces, of which 11 provinces have declared an emergency status. The task force is assigned to lead the prevention, response and recovery activities, as well as to employ experts to support the responses. The task force is also required to consult the policy plan with the head of the national task force.

On 16 March 2020, the Ministry of Internal Affairs issued a temporary restriction to export antiseptics, materials for masks manufacturing and personal protective equipment (PPE). On 3 April 2020, the Ministry of Health released guidelines to large-scale social restrictions (Pembatasan Sosial Berskala Besar, PSBB). The guidelines restrict public activities in certain provinces that have been hit by COVID-19. The regulation also became the basis for closing of schools and offices; restrictions on religious activities in communal areas, activities in public spaces and facilities, social and cultural activities; limitation of public transport modes and private vehicles and other restrictions concerning defence and security aspects. On 10 April, Jakarta, with the highest number of positive cases in Indonesia, became the first province that implanted PSBB. On 21 April, the government also banned the traditional “Mudik” or mass exodus of people to go to home provinces, starting on 24 April 2020 until 1 June.

All 34 Provinces in Indonesia identified with positive cases: the top five highest numbers being in DKI Jakarta, West Java, Banten, East Java and South Sulawesi provinces.

In Central Sulawesi, the number of positive cases of COVID-19 has steadily increased, with 184 confirmed cases as of reporting. Of these cases, 29 were from Palu (the provincial capital). Several hospitals have been appointed by the Provincial Health Office as COVID-19 referral hospitals. However, testing capacity in the province remains low with an estimated maximum of 27 tests possible per day.

The provincial governor also decreed regulations on movements of foreigners, foreign workers and Indonesian migrant workers to stem the transmission of the virus. Roads, airports and seaports have also been regulated with crossboundary movements allowed only from 06:00 to 22:00. Physical distancing regulations are also in place, particularly in public places and markets.

NGOs present in the area, most of which have been responding to the 2018 earthquake and tsunami, are coordinating COVID-19 responses to track activities and provide support to the provincial government. Requests to reactivate the health cluster, including for psychosocial support, have been raised by NGOs to provide a formal coordination mechanism for all the actors in the province.