Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami

Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami

On Friday, September 28, 2018, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake and a number of very powerful aftershocks hit near Sulawesi, Indonesia. Shortly after, a tsunami with waves of up to 18 feet hit the coast. The city of Palu—the capital of Central Sulawesi province—was hit the worst and had the greatest number of deaths.

As of October 1, Indonesia’s National Agency for Disaster Management Agency, or BNPB, spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho stated that an estimated 2.4 million people were affected by the earthquake and tsunami. State authorities also report hundreds of injuries and 48,000 displaced. The official death toll has climbed to more than 1,400, with numbers expected to rise as search-and-rescue teams continue their work and news continues to arrive from affected areas. President Joko Widodo visited Palu on Sunday and declared that Indonesia will accept international assistance for disaster response and relief efforts.

Recovery Tools and Resources 

The Chamber Foundation is here to support communities as they prepare for and recover from disasters. See below for resources to follow as you begin the recovery process.

  • Disaster Recovery Quick Guides—made possible by Shell, has tailored tips for small businesses and chambers looking to prepare and recover. 

  • Resilience in a Box—Developed in partnership with the UPS Foundation, this guide helps educate business leaders on disaster preparedness and business resilience.

Partner Resources


Airlink is actively working with humanitarian relief organizations ADRA International and NetHope to move the first wave of responders. The flights on Cathay Pacific, Emirates, and Qatar Airways are being covered by Airlink’s Disaster Response Fund. Airlines in the region are responding to Airlink’s calls to provide flight capacity for responders and relief aid. Airlink’s Signature Lead Partner United Airlines is also supporting the vital response efforts through their MileagePlus program.


AmCham Indonesia

AmCham Indonesia is working with the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) to coordinate on-the-ground assistance from U.S. companies.  Contact: Sarah Howe at or call the AmCham office at +6221526-2860 to discuss how you can help.


CARE International

CARE is sending members of its emergency response team to the affected areas as part of an interagency assessment. The organization is preparing to respond by providing drinking water, emergency hygiene kits with buckets to collect water, soap, and sanitary napkins aimed at women. Emergency family shelter kits including items such as such as tarpaulins sleeping mats, blankets and solar light, will be provided to those who have lost their homes to allow them to survive while the long process of rebuilding begins.


Direct Relief

Direct Relief has been working to pre-position and supply medicines and medical assistance to countries within the ASEAN network after signing an agreement in 2016 with the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance, known as the AHA Center. Supplies from Direct Relief are currently staged at and ready for deployment from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Subang, Malaysia. Supplies include antibiotic ointment, bandages and other personal care items for 5,000 evacuees or displaced people. Adding to the stockpiled items, Direct Relief has offered the Indonesian disaster response agency (BNPB) an additional $30 million in medicine and supplies from its available inventory.


Indonesia Red Cross Society

If you wish to help communities affected by the deadly earthquakes in Indonesia, please visit Palang Merah Indonesia’s webpage to learn how you can help. Meanwhile the American Red Cross is in coordination with the global Red Cross network to scale up resources to help affected communities.


International Medical Corps – Updated October 1, 2018

International Medical Corps is deploying an emergency response team to Indonesia to assess the most urgent needs, and provide assistance should it be requested.

Initial reported needs span potable water, temporary shelter, food, generators, fuel, medicines, and medical personnel. Thousands of buildings have been damaged, as have communications and power facilities. Damage to the airport in Palu, as well as damage to roads and bridges, has significantly slowed efforts to reach the most affected areas.

As of October 1, International Medical Corps’ Emergency Advance Team is in Jakarta and mobilizing immediately to Palu to assess the most urgent needs following the earthquake and tsunami. Our team is prepared to support response efforts and work with local partners to reach those most affected. Across our assessment phase, 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 mobilize staff across a range of sectors once priority needs are identified.

International Medical Corps has deep experience in Indonesia, having first established an emergency healthcare program in the country in 2000. We also responded to the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in 2004—one of the deadliest natural disasters in history, killing more than 228,000 people across 14 countries. Indonesia was the hardest-hit country, and our teams responded immediately, providing urgently needed assistance that ranged from healthcare to psychosocial support. We’re prepared to once again provide such care, as well as a range of other services, should the need arise.


International Organization for Migration 


IOM has dispatched an 11-truck convoy from Makassar in southern Sulawesi to Donggala, one of the worst affected towns in the area, carrying 83,600 liters of drinking water in 19-liter re-usable plastic bottles. The convoy, the first of six or seven scheduled over the coming days, will have a police escort over the roughly 24-hour road journey.  IOM is also providing a 10,000-liter water bladder, 4,000 emergency shelter kits and 4,000 household (NFI) kits to help survivors of the disaster, which left at least 1,581 people dead and 2,550 people seriously injured. At least 113 people are still missing, and numbers of casualties are expected to rise as areas previously cut off by landslides and flooding become accessible. An estimated 66,000 houses have been damaged and almost 71,000 people are displaced and staying in over 140 camp sites.  IOM has launched an appeal for $6,000,000 to ensure life-saving assistance continues.  For more information please contact


Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps Indonesia is on the ground in Palu responding to the immediate needs of survivors. Mercy Corps’ immediate priority is to provide shelter, emergency access to clean water and sanitation, and hygiene items. Mercy Corps also plans to provide emergency food assistance to families and vulnerable persons plus logistical support to enable local health services to reach those affected. Mercy Corps has been working in Indonesia for nearly 20 years and their team on the ground are experts in disaster response. They are also still responding to the Lombok earthquake, which occurred in August leaving more than 500 dead and 20,000 displaced. 



Project HOPE

Project HOPE, a global health and humanitarian relief organization, deployed a medical team to the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia to address urgent health needs following a deadly earthquake and tsunami. Based on the situation so far, we are planning the

  • Provide urgent medical care through static and mobile medical units;
  • Establish supply chain of pharmaceuticals, and medical and humanitarian supplies; and
  • Mitigate the impact of infectious disease outbreaks through provision of hygiene supplies and hygiene promotion


Save the Children

Save the Children has responded to emergencies in Indonesia for more than 40 years. As we have in the past, we will ensure the needs of children are not overlooked in the emergency response. We will help reunited children with their families and distribute basic essentials such as shelter supplies, hygiene kits, blankets and water cans. We also plan to set up child-friendly spaces in shelters, keeping children safe and cared for.



Based on UNICEF’s experience in Indonesia, essential supplies include food (ready-to-eat meals), water and sanitation materials, primary healthcare items, medicines, and female hygiene kits. In addition, services for the identification and referral of separated and unaccompanied children, prevention of family separation, psychosocial support and education, will need to be scaled up as quickly as possible to protect children and help reestablish a sense of normalcy.


United Nations Office of for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Humanitarian Response platform with updates related to response and recovery in Indonesia.


Water Mission

Water Mission has staff on the ground working with partners to assess the damage and develop a response plan. They are responding with two solutions:

  1. Short Term Relief Needs (immediate)
    1. 1.1M Proctor and Gamble Purifier of Water Sachets
      1. Each one treats 10 liters of water and 1.1M will provide ~78k people enough water for seven days (@20 liters per person per day).
  2. Longer Term (1 week out or longer)
    1. Our LWTS is a package water treatment plant that will fit in the back of a pick up truck but once on site can be set up and functional in 2-4 hours providing safe water for up to 5k people on a daily basis (assuming 20 liters per person per day)
      1. Each system includes a 6kw diesel generator, 10k liter bladder tank and tap stands