World Vision on the Ground in Indonesia Following Massive Earthquake & Tsunami

October 01, 2018

World Vision is on the ground in Indonesia responding to a massive earthquake and tsunami that has so far killed more than 800 people.

Sulawesi island in Indonesia has been left reeling from the disaster. The quake and resulting tsunami has impacted more than two million people and caused widespread destruction, with the scale of the devastation still unfolding.

World Vision staff have already begun meeting the needs of children and families who have lost everything. Humanitarian aid experts with World Vision in Indonesia are also deploying in to assess the scale of the disaster and to expand aid operations. The government is warning that the death toll could rise into the thousands.

World Vision prepositioned supplies are already in place and additional shelter kits, tarpaulins, blankets and mats have been dispatched but air transport and a 20-hour road journey mean it will take several days to get them into Palu, the epicentre of the disaster zone.
Emergency infant feeding has already been provided to a number of mothers at the World Vision in Indonesia office in Palu.

Survivors on the island of Sulawesi urgently need food, water and shelter, while children require specialist support to care for and protect them. Shortages of clean water and food are already reported.

The aid response is being hampered by the devastation that has knocked out power lines, bridges, damaged airport infrastructure and brought down water and power supplies. Roads have been blocked by landslides. People are reported trapped in collapsed buildings but there is a lack of heavy lifting equipment to rescue them. Communications with the area are intermittent with no news reported from some areas. Travel into the region takes hours with fuel running out.

The series of tsunami waves that followed the 7.4 quake on Friday reached up to three metres, sweeping away all in their path and more than 150 tremors have been felt since.

World Vision in Indonesia Sulawesi zonal manager Radika Pinto who deployed into Palu reported seeing widespread destruction and chaos.

He said: “Many of the buildings are cracked and have collapsed. Most people are building makeshift shelters in the hills away from the water because they are terrified of another tsunami. There continue to be aftershocks and people are in a state of panic, running away with some yelling ‘Tsunami!’ Many people are hungry. Clean drinking water is also a huge need because the water pipelines are broken. The hospitals are damaged with medical staff performing services outside, and medical supplies are needed.” 

Staff reported seeing a coastline marked with devastation caused by the tsunami. Hundreds of people have been injured. 

A total of 38 staff are currently working in the affected area where World Vision in Indonesia has development programmes that support thousands of sponsored children. Staff homes have been damaged and a number of staff are now camped out at the World Vision in Indonesia office in Palu.

Pre-positioned supplies in Palu, including hygiene, family and children kits that will be dispatched as soon as distributions can be organised.

World Vision has worked in Indonesia for 61 years and was already responding to an earthquake in August that killed more than 400 people. Indonesia sits on the ring of fire, so-called because of the shifting tectonic plates that regularly result in earthquakes and volcanoes.