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Indonesia Earthquakes & Tsunami


Indonesia Earthquakes & Tsunami


Immediate needs: evacuation, management of injuries, medical and health services, food and non-food items, and emergency shelter

International Medical Corps’ emergency response team is on the ground in Indonesia to support response efforts following a series of powerful earthquakes that struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday, September 28. The largest quake, a powerful magnitude 7.4, shook the region at 5:02 p.m. local time, triggering a tsunami that hit nearby coastlines, including the coastal city of Palu. 

The massive earthquake was centred about 35 miles northeast of Donggala and 50 miles north of Palu, which have a combined population of more than 600,000 people. Indonesia’s National Board of Disaster Management (BNPB) estimates that 2.4 million people have been affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Reported needs include shelter, clean water, food, fuel, medicines and medical personnel, and psychosocial support.

Many thousands of buildings have collapsed or been subsumed, including houses and public facilities. To date, more than 2,200 people have been confirmed dead, with almost 6,000 severely injured or missing. More than 223,000 displaced people are living in temporary shelter in camps. Damage to roads, bridges and the airport in Palu, as well as fuel shortages, have combined to significantly slow efforts to reach the most affected areas.

Our emergency response team is in Palu and Jakarta assessing needs, mobilising our network of partner organisations and planning our immediate response and recovery activities. We are coordinating with on-the-ground actors, governments and other agencies. Because of International Medical Corps’ deep experience in the country, we can quickly mobilise staff and assets across a range of sectors as priority needs are identified.

International Medical Corps first deployed to Indonesia in 2000, when we established an emergency healthcare program in North Maluku. We then expanded to other areas following crises in Maluku, West and Central Kalimantan, Madura Island, North and Central Sulawesi, and North Sumatra. In 2004, International Medical Corps was among the first international relief organizations to reach Indonesia’s hard-hit Aceh region following the giant Indian Ocean tsunami. We provided a broad range of healthcare services—including emergency medicine, trauma surgery, and maternal and child health—in some of the worst-hit communities of that disaster, which claimed approximately 230,000 lives across the Indian Ocean region.

The situation remains fluid, so check back here often for more information—and to find out how you can help.

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