MAF responds to earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi, Indonesia

Published: 1 Oct 2018

MAF’s Disaster Response Team along with our programs in Papua and Kalimantan, is responding to the disaster on Sulawesi Island, Indonesia, caused by a 7.4 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that occurred on Friday, 28 September.  The city of Palu was especially hard-hit.

MAF has been coordinating with partner organizations, including Ethnos360 Aviation, Helivida, and ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA) to plan a response.

Today, members of MAF’s Disaster Response Team travelled to Balikpapan, Kalimantan, close to the Indonesian island where the disaster occurred. An MAF plane has been relocated to the area to undertake an aerial survey of the affected area and assist with relief efforts if needed.  

Requests for assistance have so far been received from AHA who are trying to access the area to bring humanitarian aid. Ethnos360 Aviation has asked for help to get their local Indonesian school kids and workers from Palu back to their home areas in Ampana and Luwak.

Early reports indicate that there have been at least 844 fatalities, 632 major injuries and there are 934 affected villages. Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed and in some areas ground liquification has caused homes to be submerged in mud.

Challenges include lack of electricity and unstable communication lines and channels. Damage to roads and ports are currently hindering efforts to reach affected areas.

Flight coming into Palu airport yesterday were disrupted by people trying to leave the city.  There are reports of widespread looting of aid trucks and travel chaos.  Food shortages and a lack of clean water are making many survivors desperate. The priority is reaching the worst hit areas quickly.

1,536,367 people are potentially affected by this event across 6 regencies and 85 districts. There are 48,025 displaced persons in 103 evacuation sites. 

Please pray:

  • For those who may still be trapped in the rubble.
  • For those who are injured or who have lost loved ones.
  • For protection from further earthquakes. The area is experiencing aftershocks, including a 5.5 quake on Monday.
  • For an end to the looting and violence.
  • That the agencies responding to the need would be able to gain access to Palu and that aid would reach those in greatest need.