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Indonesia tsunami

On the 28th September 2018 a devastating tsunami and earthquake struck Sulawesi, Indonesia

Children experiencing unimaginable distress, separated from parents, losing loved ones, and watching everything they have known washed away in the Indonesia earthquake and tsunami disaster

In late September 2018 a devastating tsunami and earthquake struck Sulawesi, Indonesia. More than 1,500,000 people have been impacted by this disaster including at least 600,000 children. The 7.4 magnitude earthquake that hit Donggala, Central Sulawesi, triggered a tsunami with dramatic effects on Palu City and surrounding coastal settlements. At the time of publication, the death toll from this devastation is at least 2,000 people. 

Image: Thomas Gustafian/Save the Children

More than 1,500,000 people have been impacted by this disaster including at least 600,000 children. About a third are seriously affected, losing their homes, livelihoods or loved ones.

Children have been separated from their parents in the chaos of escape, as buildings crumbled, and tsunami waves tore through coastal homes and shops. Many of these children will have experienced unimaginable distress, losing loved ones, and watching everything they have known washed away.


What are we doing to help?

Save the Children and our local partner Yayasan Sayangi Tunas Cilik (YSTC), are responding by assessing the impact on children and their families and providing the support needed to help them piece their lives back together. With our local partner YSTC, we are on the ground:

Emergency supplies

Emergency supplies

Distributing emergency supplies, including blankets, tarpaulin and rope to keep families who have lost their homes safe. At last count (mid-October), more than 7000 people over 1,400 households have received shelter kits and we expect this number to significantly rise over the coming weeks.

Clean water

Clean water

We are providing families with clean water and hygiene kits to stop the spread of deadly diseases. Up to the middle of October, more than 6,500 people have received hygiene kits in over 1900 households. We are conducting daily distribution of 40,000 litres of water across 14 water points in Palu and Donggala.

Child friendly spaces

Child friendly spaces

We have been setting up temporary learning centres and child friendly spaces, so children’s education isn’t interrupted, and their emotional needs are met. 12 Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) have been set up and 4 Temporary Learning Spaces (TLS) have been set up in 3 locations in Palu and Donggala. These are set up alongside one another so that children are able to attend the TLS in the morning and CFS in the afternoons. 



Children, particularly those children who have been left homeless, separated from, or have lost their parents are at risk of exploitation, especially by child traffickers. Children are receiving support through child-friendly spaces, temporary learning centres and psychosocial support services to help protect them from abuse, exploitation and trauma. Working through our local partner, we have established family tracing, reunification and registration procedures to help reunite children with their families and keep them safe. 

How will your support help?

Whilst much has already been done to help the people of Sulawesi, the battle has only just begun. Right now, children are at their most vulnerable, especially the many girls and boys tragically separated from their families or orphaned. 

Save the Children is on the ground providing physical and emotional support to families and children. Your support will help us continue with this vital aid. Food, water, and shelter will help families and children survive the elements and the threat of disease. We’re also providing children with counselling to help navigate the tragedy they have befallen along with a safe place to play and be children amidst the chaos.

Images: Ardiles Rante/Save the Children

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