© Dirna Mayasari/MSF
01 Oct 18 26 Sep 19

Indonesia tsunami response

On 28 September 2018, a series of strong earthquakes struck central Sulawesi province.

The strongest  a 7.4 magnitude earthquake with its epicentre close to the provincial capital, Palu  triggered a tsunami whose waves reached up to three metres in some areas, striking Palu and Donggala. 

The earthquakes, tsunami and resulting liquefaction - a phenomenon where soil loses strength and turns to mud - and landslides have caused significant damage and loss of life in affected areas.

MSF response

A 12-person team is providing support to affected communities in Central Sulawesi.

Primary and mental healthcare

As of 24 October, a total of 835 patients have been treated by MSF doctors and nurses. The Mental Health team has also provided psychological education for six community clinics affected in Palu.

Likewise, four additional clinics (in Tipo, Pantoloan, Bulili, and Talisei) have requested MSF to provide psychological support in their respective areas.

The main priority now is to provide support to health centres in remote areas to restart their primary healthcare activities and ensure the prevention of epidemics such as diarrhoea, skin diseases and measles.

Restarting routine vaccination, data collection, and epidemiological surveillance for different diseases will be also part of the support.

Safe water

Ensuring access to safe water is also a priority. "The affected communities have limited access to clean water which is important to reduce the risk of possible epidemics. In some areas, people have to walk up to two kilometres just to get water," says Timothius SP Benu, an MSF water and sanitation specialist.

The MSF team will repair or clean existing water sources, such as hand pumps and wells, and set up temporary solutions such as water tanks and water treatment systems.  

While conducting these activities, the team will continue to assess the needs in the surrounding areas and will respond according to potential needs.

As of 23 October, 2,077 people are known to have died and 1,075 people are still missing, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

More than 68,000 houses have been severely damaged or destroyed by the earthquake, tsunami or liquefaction, leaving 211,000 people displaced by the disaster.

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