Press release

Emergency aid for communities devastated by Indonesia earthquake and tsunami

Christian Aid is working through its sister agencies in Indonesia to deliver emergency supplies to survivors of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.

At least 844 people have died, thousands made homeless and over 1.5 million individuals affected by the magnitude-7.5 tremor and waves that reached as high as six metres. The death toll is set to rise, as rescue efforts continue.

Christian Aid is supporting the delivery of food, shelter, clean water, sanitation and other relief supplies in the city of Palu and the district of Donggala in Central Sulawesi, two of the worst-hit areas. This work is being coordinated by Christian Aid’s sister agencies YEU, Church World Service and Pelkesi
, fellow members of the global ACT Alliance network.

Madara Hettiarachchi, Christian Aid’s Head of Humanitarian Programmes for Asia and Middle East, said: “We are deeply saddened by the devastation triggered by the earthquake and tsunami: it has wrecked lives, torn apart communities and caused untold suffering. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected.

“As the rubble is cleared in the coming days and week, we expect the death toll to rise. Right now, many survivors are being forced to sleep in the open, in fear of further aftershocks. Many communities are cut off from the outside world, with power supplies and telecommunications down. Food and water supplies will be running low. Medical services are under severe strain.

“Our sister agencies YEU and CWS have been assessing the scale of damage in some of the hardest-hit areas and identifying the most pressing needs of women, children and men in Palu and Donggala. They have told us people urgently need access to safe drinking water, food, shelter, health and hygiene supplies.”

She continued: “In the coming months, there will be a real need in communities for support with housing, income and access to basic amenities – such as sanitation, telecommunications and electricity. Although Christian Aid does not have an office in Indonesia, we are poised to provide as much assistance as we can – through our sister agencies – so that survivors of this catastrophe can rebuild their lives.”

Christian Aid is currently responding to two other crises across Asia: the monsoon floods in Kerala, India, and Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines. The organisation is appealing for funds for these disasters, to support its partners based in each of the countries.

Madara Hettiarachchi said: “In the space of just six weeks, the South Asia and South East Asia region has seen three intense disasters: this catastrophe in Indonesia comes not long after the monsoon floods in Kerala and Typhoon Mangkhut. These natural disasters are causing untold suffering. It’s imperative we do more to help reduce the risk and impact of these disasters before they happen.”


Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development.

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter.