Indonesia earthquake and tsunami: two years on

Disaster response and preparednessIndonesia

It’s been two years since a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia, bringing down buildings and severing communication networks. In some areas, the ground turned to liquid as the tsunami that followed swept through towns and villages. Eye witnesses described whole buildings sinking into the mud.

On that horrific night of 28 September 2018, more than 2,000 people were killed, 200,000 people forced to flee their homes, and thousands of houses were damaged.  

Tearfund, as part of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), launched an appeal for those affected.

We worked with a network of Indonesian churches and partners to provide shelter and emergency kitchens, and deployed medical teams, including an orthopaedic surgeon and a midwife.

'We understand what to do when disaster hits us again.'

Mrs Tene

Two years later, we are continuing to help people recover from the catastrophic events:

Access to water and good hygiene
Our partners have built toilets, put in taps, and shared messages about good hygiene to help people avoid diseases – including highlighting the importance of handwashing.

Providing shelter
Earthquake-resistant shelters have been sourced and tested, and more than 100 people have been trained to build them.

Training and supporting businesses
People have been supported with cash assistance for their small businesses; farmers have been given training in new ways to farm which are more efficient and produce better yields.

Trauma counselling
Children in schools have received counselling to help them deal with the trauma they experienced during the earthquake.

Preparing for future disasters 
Our partners have developed early warning systems and set up evacuation routes in case another earthquake and tsunami strikes.

One of our partners, YBT, spoke with a lady called Mrs Tene who lives in one of the new earthquake-resistant homes. ‘My children and I feel like normal, even better than before and we are sure to continue our lives,’ she said.

‘Now we can sleep comfortably, we have a latrine in our house, we have clean water and I have an income to support my children. YBT has taught us a lot. Now we all know why and how to wash our hands properly, and we understand what to do when disaster hits us again, but I pray and hope it will not happen.’

Please pray

• Praise God for the progress being made by people like Mrs Tene who have had to rebuild their lives after the earthquake and tsunami.

• Pray for people who still need help and support, that they will be reached very soon.

• Ask God to give wisdom and resources to our partners who are working hard to help people who’ve lost their homes and businesses.

Andrew Horton

Andrew is Online News and Film Editor for Tearfund. This involves finding and writing up inspiring articles for the website, and capturing compelling stories on video.