Emergency Appeal: Earthquake and Tsunami in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

October 8, 2018


A 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, on Friday, September 28. The quake, and the resulting 10-foot tsunami waves, leveled buildings and brought destruction to the city of Palu (pop. 335,000) and surrounding areas. As of October 8, the death toll has reached 1,948 people, with hundreds more missing. Thousands have been injured. Around 74,000 people have been displaced, staying in over 140 sites. About 65,700 houses have been damaged or destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami, leaving some 330,000 people without adequate shelter.

Access to Palu remains difficult as the airport is small and has been damaged in the earthquake and therefore can handle only a limited number of aircraft; road access has also been affected by the earthquake. Priority needs identified are temporary shelter items (tarpaulins, blankets, mattresses) and other non-food items, transitional shelter, water supply, sanitation, and hygiene promotion and early recovery. Many areas have yet to receive any assistance.

CWS Response

CWS staff acted immediately as news of the disaster broke across Asia, and the Indonesia team has been in touch with our ACT Alliance and Humanitarian Forum Indonesia colleagues since the first hours of the crisis to determine how best to respond.

CWS currently has an emergency response team on the ground in Palu. At the moment CWS is supplying clean water daily to 2,500 people in Sidera, Jono’oge, Loru and Kabobona villages in Sigi district. CWS is working with our partners and the District Disaster Management Agency in Tana Toraja district, South Sulawesi, to increase the clean water supply to reach more affected people. added a second truck on Monday to support water distribution.

CWS also sent one truck with relief items: 100 tarps, rope, 200 mats, 1,000 blankets as well as 100 six-liter bottles of water and hygiene supplies for women and babies. So far the team has distributed 100 tarpaulins, 400 blankets and 200 mattresses to 100 households in Sidera. A second truck carrying 300 hygiene kits (80-liter buckets with soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo etc) departed Makassar on Monday.

Together with partners in the ACT Alliance Indonesia Forum and the Humanitarian Forum Indonesia CWS has initiated a program to support disaster-affected families in Sigi district, Central Sulawesi. This will help families:

  • improve their access to water supplies and sanitation facilities. This will include support for the construction or rehabilitation of public latrines and sanitation facilities, improved access to clean water and support for the constructing waste disposal facilities.
  • build temporary and transitional shelter.
  • rebuild their livelihoods through early recovery interventions.


Shelter materials and non-food items: $250,000

Water supply, sanitation, and hygiene promotion: $200,000

Early recovery: $100,000

Other program costs: $100,000 (staff, logistics, equipment)

TOTAL: $650,000

How to Help

Donations to the CWS response can be made online at cwsglobal.org/sulawesi or mailed to your denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515 (designate 700Z – Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami response).

CWS is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.