On 28 September, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck the Donggala District in Central Sulawesi, triggering a tsunami that has devastated coastal areas including Palu city.
At least 1,500 people have been confirmed dead and 70,000 people have been displaced from their homes. The death toll climbs daily.
The Indonesian Government and United Nations estimate at least 190,000 people now require urgent humanitarian assistance, and that the lives of more than 1.5 million people have been affected.
UnitingWorld launches appeal
UnitingWorld launched an appeal this week to support local churches in Sulawesi who are responding to the crisis with emergency shelters, food, water, clothing and fuel.
Our partner organisation, the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI) has been coordinating the emergency response activities of their member churches in Sulawesi: the Indonesia Protestant Church in Donggala (Gereja Protestan Indonesia di Donggala – GPID) and the Protestant Church in Central Sulawesi (Gereja Kristen Sulawesi Tengah, GKST).
Initial funds raised by the Tsunami Crisis Appeal have now been sent to support relief work coordinated by PGI. More funds are urgently needed.
Local churches act quickly
Immediately after the crisis, churches in non-affected areas around Donggala began collecting donations and emergency supplies to take to Palu and coastal areas that were hit. Travel was near impossible for days because roads were destroyed by the earthquake.
The GKST quickly opened an emergency shelter in one of their high school buildings near Palu. Relief efforts are being coordinated by three local ministers. They report that the people being served at the centre have been so traumatised by aftershocks that they prefer to sleep outside the buildings.
Many GKST and GPID buildings have now become emergency centres being used by church leaders and volunteers. They are asking for supplies and medical aid. The PGI is preparing to send a health team from Jakarta to support the emergency centres.
UnitingWorld partner church, the Evangelical Christian Church in Timor (GMIT) also has a presence in Palu through their development organisation, Tanaoba Lais Manekat (TLM), which has been running a large-scale microfinance project there for many years.
Up to 4,000 of their clients have now lost their homes and many gains made by the project have been lost. TLM staff in Palu have nonetheless been at the forefront of the disaster response work in their community.
(Below photos via TLM)
More aid needed
We are continuing to work with our partners on rapid needs assessments and determining how to best support them in the short and long term. They have indicated the initial needs they are aiming to address are food, water, clothes, fuel for transport and cooking; tents for refugees and help with burials.
Your donation will support local churches to help and serve their communities.
Pray for Sulawesi
Please join us in prayer
For our courageous church partners serving the people of Palu and Donggala;
For the people still missing and those trying to reach them;
For those bringing urgent relief supplies to those suffering;
For those grieving the loss of loved ones;
And for those who’ve lost everything, including their homes.
All photos via Gratia Djami Jusuf, Tanaoba Lais Manekat.