“What we have witnessed since Friday is horrifying,” says Rini, a mother of two who lives in Palu, the densely populated city on the island Sulawesi in Indonesia.
“Many houses in the surrounding area have been destroyed … My kids are taking refuge in a shelter at the elementary school. Electricity is out so it is difficult to get information … Our drinking water and clean water is almost finished.”
Rini is describing the aftermath of the 7.5-magnitude earthquake that hit the island and the subsequent 6 metre high tsunami that devastated nearby coastal areas. The scenery can only be described with one word: chaos.
Many people are sleeping in communal shelters, or out in the open. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable. Rini notes that many pregnant women have been evacuated to Makassar in the south of the island, but many – especially those without money – remain exposed to this chaos.
“I really hope that CARE will reach Palu to help with medicine, clean water, food, emergency shelters, blankets and baby necessities. The people of Sulawesi are in urgent need,”Rini said.
“Local facilities cannot bear the burden of this tragedy without extra assistance.”
CARE is in the process of assessing the damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami that has so far killed more than 1,400 people and left a further 2,550 injured. CARE is aiming to support up to 70,000 people, mainly in areas that are difficult to access, with lifesaving clean water, shelter, and other emergency items.
Around 1.6 million people are currently thought to be affected by the disaster.