As a national emergency is declared on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, international aid agency CARE has begun emergency response activities following Friday’s 7.5 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami, with the death toll expected to soar.
More than 840 people are confirmed dead, and thousands more injured, with numbers expected to rise due to entire villages being wiped out. The overall affected population is 1.6 million people.
CARE will commence its on-the-ground efforts tomorrow, and aims to support up to 70,000 people in the Donggala district, a more difficult area to reach and the least likely to receive much needed help.
CARE Indonesia Country Director Helen Vanwel said the country is shocked by the number of people that have perished and fears the numbers will only get worse.
“We now need to focus on how we can help survivors; the key needs of the people in and around Palu city are clean water, shelter and proper sanitation.
“Electricity is still out and access to those affected has been extremely difficult due to landslides and flooding in the area.”
CARE is sending members of its emergency response team to the affected areas, with the organisation also preparing to respond by providing drinking water, emergency hygiene kits with buckets to collect water, soap and sanitary napkins for women. Emergency shelter kits will also be provided to those who have lost their homes.
As part of the assessment, CARE will focus on the specific impacts on women and girls who are often disproportionately affected in natural disasters of this type and are at increased risk of many types of sexual and gender-based violence. Their voices are often also the least heard when it comes to emergency needs.
50-year old Sukmawati, a former CARE staff member living in the area, whose brother was killed by the earthquake, reported she had been sleeping in a shared compound and that she and her family had not yet received any aid except for some boxes of instant noodles from local volunteers.
“Drinking water and shelter is very limited and we are having to fend for ourselves,” she said.
She also noted that around the coast, those deceased from the tsunami had been taken to hospitals.
CARE Australia today launched an appeal to help provide for the immediate needs of those affected. The appeal will help CARE deliver clean water and emergency supplies including sanitation, shelter, hygiene and dignity kits.
To donate please visit care.org.au/tsunami or call 1800 020 046
To arrange interviews, contact Sara Denby at CARE Australia
on 0419 567 777
CARE has worked in Indonesia since 1967, initially focused on food distribution, small infrastructure projects, health, the environment, and water and sanitation. In 2004, CARE Indonesia was one of the primary emergency responders after the Boxing Day Tsunami.
CARE Australia is an international humanitarian aid organisation. Last year, CARE directly reached more than 14 million people through humanitarian response work. Donations to CARE Australia’s Indonesia Tsunami Emergency Crisis can be made at care.org.au/tsunami