Indonesia: CARE begins emergency response activities as death toll soars

(Jakarta, Indonesia) – International humanitarian organization CARE has begun preparations for an assessment of the damages caused by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that has left at least 832 people dead and a further 540 injured on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

This assessment will allow CARE to begin immediately assisting those affected by the disaster in the most effective way possible and follows the declaration of a state of national emergency by the Government of Indonesia and formal request for assistance.

We are shocked by the number of people that have perished, and we fear this number will get much 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, said CARE Indonesia Country Director Helen Vanwel, who is Canadian.

In a natural disaster of this scale, even finding clean water to drink can be a real challenge. In the aftermath of this level of destruction, peoples thoughts immediately turn to sources of income and a home, and these are just some of the areas where organisations like CARE can help provide support.”

CARE is sending members of its emergency response team to the affected areas as part of an interagency assessment. The organisation is preparing to respond by providing drinking water, emergency hygiene kits with buckets to collect water, soap, and sanitary napkins aimed at women. Emergency family shelter kits including items such as such as tarpaulins sleeping mats, blankets and solar light, will be provided to those who have lost their homes to allow them to survive while the long process of rebuilding begins.

The Government of Indonesia has estimated that some 65,000 homes have been damaged by the earthquake and tsunami in and around the populous city of Palu and Donggala District, with roads and sewage systems damaged and water supplies affected.

Fifty year old Sukmawati – a former CARE staff member living in the area, whose brother was killed by the earthquake, reported that she and her family have 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. When it rained yesterday we had to move to a nearby building to take cover and others slept outside,” she noted.

She also explained that around the coast, dead bodies from the tsunami have been taken to hospitals. Some boats were washed away quite far from the shore, and some hotels by the beach are severely damaged.

CARE has released funds in order to begin responding to the emergency and is seeking an additional US $5 million to help provide for the immediate needs of those affected.

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 and a say in the time of support they require.


CARE has a Canadian spokesperson available in Indonesia. Contact:

Darcy Knoll
Communications Specialist | CARE Canada | +1-613-228-5641

About CARE Indonesia

CARE has offices in the south of Sulawesi island in Makassar, where it has been operating for nearly 30 years.

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 South Asian tsunami. Emergency response and disaster risk reduction with a focus on women and girls is always CARE Indonesia’s first priority. Its other core activities all focus on women and youth and include: Integrated Risk Management comprising resilience, food security and climate change; Economic Empowerment and leadership; and Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene.