Two children living in a temporary shelter in Indonesia

Indonesia Six Months On

It has been six months since the magnitude 7.5 earthquake hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Over this time, we have been focusing on providing clean water, improving sanitation and hygiene, and we have supported life-saving food and nutrition programmes.

By Action Against Hunger

Mar 27 2019

On Friday 28th September last year, at 10am, a devastating earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale hit the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. A huge 18 feet tsunami followed soon after striking the city of Palu. At least 2,100 people's lives were lost and more than 1,300 people are still missing

The disaster left 200,000 survivors in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, around a quarter of whom were children.

Children like 6 year-old Kemala*, who has cerebral palsy. Kemala lived in a house close to the beach in Palu with her family. When the tsunami struck, their home and community were destroyed. Her mother, Ramla, remembers the panic, “I heard that my area had been hit by a wall of water. It was getting very dark by now and I was screaming and crying, shouting for my family, calling their names. I immediately tried to find Kemala.”

After hours of frantic searching, Ramla found her husband who told her Kemala was safe. “It was such a huge relief. I was so grateful, we just hugged and cried.” Kemala and her family moved to a village higher up in the valley, where they now live in a makeshift shelter.

Despite the uncertainly for the future, Kemala’s mother is grateful that they survived and found each other. “My home is gone, my job in Palu is gone, my husband's job is gone,” says Ramla. “But I don't care about material things. We don't need money. We just need to be together.”

Soon after the earthquake and tsunami struck, Action Against Hunger and the 13 other member agencies of the DEC came together to raise awareness and vital funds for the disaster. Since then, we have been working closely with the Indonesian government to help families, like Kemala’s, to rebuild their lives.

Over the past six months we have been working with local partner organisation Yakkum Emergency Unit (YEU) to ensure that some of the most vulnerable people affected by the disaster get the right support in this crisis. Together, we have been focusing on providing clean water, improving sanitation and hygiene, and we have supported life-saving food and nutrition programmes.


What have your donations achieved? 

In six months, we have raised just over £65,000. These vital funds have been spent:

  • Setting up community kitchens in ten locations to provide food to 5,000 people once a week
  • Distributing 20 water tanks to the nine villages worst affected by the tsunami
  • Building life-saving water systems including piping and tap stations in villages where survivors now live in temporary shelters.

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, Action Against Hunger has been able to provide life-saving assistance to families, like Kemala’s, who have been affected by the earthquake and tsunami. “Palu is very far from England… we are so humbled that so many people have come together to help us, and offered us things we cannot repay,” says Ramla.


We still need your help

You may have seen that Action Against Hunger has also recently launched a DEC appeal to respond to Cyclone Idai and it's devastating impact on Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi. This emergency appeal will support our fellow DEC members and their partners who are responding to the needs of those affected by Cyclone Idai, which swept through these southern African countries leaving behind a trail of destruction, killing hundreds of people and affecting an estimated three million people. Your support can save lives and give people hope, just as it has done in Indonesia. Please give generously to help as many people as possible. 


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* The names of children have been changed to protect them.

Photo credit: Kathleen Prior/DEC