World Vision is on the ground in Indonesia responding to a devastating 7.4-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that has so far killed more than 1,400 people.
The Indonesian island of Sulawesi has been left reeling from the disaster. The quake and resulting tsunami have impacted more than two million people and caused widespread destruction, with the scale of the devastation still unfolding.
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World Vision staff are meeting the immediate needs of children and families who’ve lost everything. Humanitarian aid experts with World Vision Indonesia are also assessing the scale of the disaster. The government is warning that the death toll could rise into the thousands.
World Vision prepositioned supplies are already in place and additional shelter kits, tarpaulins, blankets and mats have been dispatched. However, air transport and a 20-hour road journey mean it will take several days to get them into Palu, the epicentre of the disaster zone.
Emergency infant feeding has been provided to a number of mothers at the World Vision Indonesia office in Palu.
Survivors on the island of Sulawesi urgently need food, water and shelter, while children require specialist support to care for and protect them. Shortages of clean water and food are already reported.
Devastated homes on the coast of Indonesia.
The aid response is being hampered by the devastation that has knocked out power lines, bridges, damaged airport infrastructure and brought down water and power supplies. Roads have been blocked by landslides. People are reported trapped in collapsed buildings but there is a lack of heavy lifting equipment to rescue them. Communications with the area are intermittent with no news reported from some areas. Travel into the region takes hours with fuel running out.
The series of tsunami waves that followed the 7.4 quake on Friday reached up to three metres, sweeping away all in their path and more than 150 tremors have been felt since.
World Vision Indonesia Sulawesi zonal manager Radika Pinto who deployed into Palu reported seeing widespread destruction and chaos.
He said: “Many of the buildings are cracked and have collapsed. Most people are building makeshift shelters in the hills away from the water because they are terrified of another tsunami. There continue to be aftershocks and people are in a state of panic, running away with some yelling ‘Tsunami!’ Many people are hungry. Clean drinking water is also a huge need because the water pipelines are broken. The hospitals are damaged with medical staff performing services outside, and medical supplies are needed.”
A total of 38 staff are currently working in the affected area of Indonesia where World Vision has development programmes that support thousands of sponsored children.
Staff homes have been damaged and a number of staff are now camped out at the World Vision Indonesia office in Palu.
World Vision has worked in Indonesia
for 61 years and was already responding to an earthquake in August that killed more than 400 people. Indonesia sits on the ring of fire, so-called because of the shifting tectonic plates that regularly result in earthquakes and volcanoes.
By James East