Muslim Aid responds to emergency on Indonesian island of Sulawesi

News and Press Release
Originally published

Following the 7.4 magnitude earthquake which triggered a tsunami on Friday 29 September, Muslim Aid UK now has a team in Sulawesi helping to respond to some of the 191,000 people urgently in need of humanitarian assistance. Over 1,200 are reported dead and more than 600 people have been injured. The death toll is predicted to rise to thousands.

Muslim Aid UK has sent its Head of Mission and Humanitarian Coordinator to Palu, Indonesia to join three local partners (PKPU, Global Medic and Rhuma Zakat) to assess the needs and enable a rapid and effective response to help save lives. Muslim Aid has its Indonesian team in Jakarta supporting and programme staff in other countries offices on standby to provide surge capacity.

The tsunami resulted in 20 foot high waves crashing onto the coast destroying thousands of homes and causing devastation around the provincial capital of Palu and along the coastline, leaving Donggala and other coastal cities in ruins and without power. With houses damaged or destroyed, and aftershocks continuing, thousands of people are unable to return to their homes, with more than 48,000 displaced people currently staying in over 200 sites.

Basic needs identified, based on the ASEAN’s Joint Disaster Response Plan (AJDRP), are food (ready-to-eat meals) which are halal certified, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), primary healthcare including first aid and psycho-social support, nutritional needs, medicines, feminine hygiene kits, and important non-food items vital for survival.

Muslim Aid UK will work through Yayasan Kemanusiaan Muslim Indonesia (YKMI) to support Global Medic in its response and has initially allocated £50,000 for immediate use. The tentative programmatic collaboration with Global Medic is as follows:

• Using the RescUAV drones team – 4 drones and 4 pilots will work to provide emergency maps, support search and rescue teams and provide situational awareness (what roads are out, what bridges are out) to the Disaster Management Agency (DMA). The idea is to provide better information to emergency managers so they make better decisions which results in the more efficient delivery of aid.

• A technical WASH team are arriving with water purification tablets and portable purification units. MAUK will support in delivering these to the needed locations in Palu in consultation with the Disaster Management Agency (DMA).

• Emergency Kits will be made available to families identified as in greatest need.
The team from Muslim Aid’s London office has recently returned from similarly supporting local Muslim Aid staff and partners’ rapid response on the nearby island of Lombok, which was wrecked by five earthquakes and repeated tremors in July and August.

“I don’t have words for what the people of Indonesia have suffered since the first earthquake hit Lombok on 29 July,” says Fadlullah Wilmot, Muslim Aid’s Head of Mission for Indonesia.

“We were on the scene immediately after the quake, but I didn’t expect to be returning to Indonesia so soon for another emergency, and one so terrifying.

Our strong in-country office and partner organisations will do everything we can to support those destitute and traumatised after the Sulawesi tsunami.”


Muslim Aid is one of the top 20 UK relief and development agencies, alongside Christian Aid, Save the Children and Oxfam. It was set up in the UK in 1985 to provide humanitarian assistance to disaster affected countries and to help poor communities overcome poverty. Muslim Aid covers 70 countries, working with all communities irrespective of faith, ethnic origin or political system.  Muslim Aid also has some UK programmes.