Indonesia tidal waves displace thousands

Geneva, May 22, 2007 - From Thursday last week, three days of tidal waves caused thousands of residents to flee their homes and destroyed hundreds of houses, fishing boats and tourist spots in eleven Indonesian provinces. The massive waves began last Thursday and rose up to 7 meters (22.9 feet) high striking the islands of Sumatra, Java and Bali. Weather officials have said the waves were a result of the accumulation of winds in one spot and are not associated with any annual weather patterns.

One person was killed by the waves, hundreds of fishing boats were destroyed, and in five of the affected provinces houses were destroyed or badly damaged. West Java province was the worst hit, with at least 200 houses swept away by the tidal waves along the coast of Pelabuhan Ratu. In the District of Agam, West Sumatra, 500 houses were severely damaged and around 2,300 persons are temporarily displaced. Displaced persons are currently living under tents and in public buildings including mosques, schools and government offices.

In Aceh Barat, roads are flooded and 375 households are temporarily displaced to safer areas as a result of the damage to their homes. The waves forced tourists to flee the popular beaches on the island of Bali and also wiped out hundreds of fishing boats in the Jimbaran area, which is famous for its fisheries industry.

Three members of the global alliance, Action by Churches Together (ACT) International working in Indonesia, Church World Service (CWS) Indonesia, YAKKUM Emergency Unit (YEU) and Yayasan Tanggul Bencana di Indonesia (YTBI), report that they are coordinating their responses to this latest disaster in the region.

CWS, UNICEF and the Spanish Red Cross plan a joint response in Aceh that will include CWS assisting with sanitation facilities. CWS is completing an assessment there and may distribute non-food items. CWS will continue to monitor the situation in affected areas.

In the badly hit coastal areas of West Sumatra where the three ACT members have on-going rehabilitation programs in response to the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami (ACT appeal ASRE51), the progress of some projects has been disrupted.

For example, supplies of cement, sand and wood in YEU and CWS warehouses had to be moved to safety away from the rising waters. In Aceh Jaya housing construction is affected as the transportation of materials has temporarily stopped as roads are blocked. The YTBI housing project in Suak Pantebrueh, Samatiga came to a halt as the area was flooded by as much as a meter of water and the house reconstruction teams were forced to temporarily abandon the project site. Sand for the construction of 13 houses was completely washed away. In the same area, YTBI livelihood recovery projects were affected with damage to carpentry machines and wood, 20 fish ponds were flooded in Lhok Bubon, and two boats were damaged from the fishermens' group. The impact of these losses is still being assessed. Transitional shelters constructed by YEU for families displaced by the 2004 Tsunami were not affected as they were built on stilts.

All three ACT members are continuing to monitor the situation, though no indication is being given at this time that Rapid Response funding or an ACT Appeal will be requested.

Any funding indication or pledge should be communicated to Jessie Kgoroeadira, ACT Finance Officer (

Thank you for your attention.

For further information please contact:

ACT Director, John Nduna (phone +41 22 791 6033 or mobile phone + 41 79 203 6055) or
ACT Program Officer, Michelle Yonetani (phone +41 22 791 6035 or mobile phone +41 79 285 2916)
ACT Web Site address: