Indonesia tsunami response

We have a team in Central Sulawesi assessing medical and humanitarian needs in response to the tsunami

On 28 September, 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. 

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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

An MSF team from Indonesia – composed of medical, water and sanitation, and logistics specialists  was sent to the affected areas to assess the situation. 

In collaboration with the Indonesian Ministry of Health, the MSF team has evaluated the needs in the more remote and rural areas, as the government response is concentrated mainly in the areas around the tsunami-hit Palu City coastline, and Petobo to the south.

Primary and mental healthcare

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“Until today [11 October], we still see patients with closed fractures due to the impact of the earthquake," says Dr Rangi Wirantika.

"We have been working closely with the Health Agency, and our mobile clinic team travels every day to provide health services access for these patients.”

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.

Two local psychologists will soon join the team to provide mental healthcare for the people of Palu and Donggala, as well as for local medical staff.

Dr Rangi Wirantika dresses the wound of four-year-old Adam, who received a head wound while fleeing the tsunami.

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.

Latest figures as of 9 October

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As of 9 October, 2,010 people are known to have died, 10,700 have been seriously injured and 671 people are still missing, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

More than 67,000 houses have been severely damaged or destroyed by the earthquake, tsunami or liquefaction, leaving some 330,000 people without adequate shelter, while 62,400 people displaced by the disaster are staying in displacement sites with limited access to life-saving services.

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