Palu/Geneva, 26 October 2018 – More than 40,000 survivors have received Red Cross emergency relief aid in the month since the Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami disaster.
With a looming rainy season and government estimates that more than 200,000 people are displaced, huge needs remain. Thousands of families are living in makeshift shelters, many made of little more than flimsy plastic, bamboo, cloth and grain sacks.
Andreas Weissenberg, the field assessment coordination team leader for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said:
“We are now running up against the clock. The rainy season is set to begin in the coming weeks and we need to deliver shelter materials as quickly as possible, to help families shore up their temporary accommodations and keep them protected from the elements.”
To date, Indonesian Red Cross volunteers, many of them also personally affected by the disasters, have distributed almost 16,000 tarpaulins and more than 2,200 emergency shelters. It is part of a distribution plan that will see 215 metric tons of emergency relief items delivered in the weeks ahead.
The impending monsoon season is also raising concerns about a potential spike in water-borne diseases including diarrhoea, malaria, dengue, and upper respiratory infections.
Arifin Muhammad Hadi, head of disaster management at Indonesian Red Cross said:
“We are expecting a shipment of 3,200 insecticide-treated mosquito nets which we will be distributing in the coming days. This complements the hundreds of nets we have already handed out. We are also training volunteers on epidemic prevention and control. Together with our hygiene promotion volunteers they are engaging directly with families to help keep disease at bay.”
Four Red Cross mobile health teams continue to circulate through affected communities. Combined with a field clinic in Tompe, Sirenja, they have reached more than 5,000 people with much needed healthcare, helping to address a gap after many healthcare facilities were damaged in the earthquake. Trained staff and volunteers are also helping 800 survivors, many of them children, work through the emotional impact of what they have experienced.
The double disaster, combined with a series of deadly earthquakes on the island of Lombok, is stretching the capacity of the Indonesian Red Cross to respond. In Sulawesi, construction of a basecamp is currently underway to house 300 volunteers who are being deployed from across the country to support the response.
IFRC has launched an emergency appeal to support the Indonesian Red Cross in reaching 160,000 people affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi, and a series of earthquakes in Lombok. The appeal for 22 million Swiss francs (22 million US dollars / 19 million euros) is currently 58 per cent funded.
IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world.