INDONESIA—A Catholic Relief Services (CRS) team from Indonesia is on the ground in Palu, where a deadly earthquake and tsunami killed at least 1,400 people and left tens of thousands homeless. The local CRS team is working closely with our Caritas partner and additional teams have been deployed from around the world to assist with pipeline logistics, temporary shelter and relief supplies.
“In Balaroa village, on the outskirts of Palu, everything is destroyed,” reported CRS’ Fatwa Fadillah. “The streets are ruined and there’s no water or sanitation facilities for people gathered in shelters. Most families only have one tarp and one mat. It’s extremely hot and most people are sitting under tarps, just waiting.”
While survivors of the twin disasters are in desperate need of food, water and shelter—and being able to communicate with family—getting aid to Palu has been slowed due to crippled and impassable roads, a lack of fuel and insecurity due to the mounting desperation. CRS/Indonesia staff and partners report a scene of destruction as the government search and rescue teams continue to look for survivors five days after the massive tsunami, triggered by a 7.5 earthquake, washed away homes and left a path of devastation. The death toll is expected to rise as responders reach more remote areas and dig through the rubble of toppled buildings.
“At Talise beach, where the tsunami came ashore, it’s a scene of devastation,” Fadillah said. “All along the coast, you can see just how massive the tsunami was and the extent of the damage. Body bags are lining the road and the smell is almost unbearable.”
CRS will support Caritas staff and volunteers to respond to people’s most urgent needs with temporary shelter materials like tarps, blankets and sleeping mats, as well as sanitation kits, clean-up and other supplies.
CRS and its local partners have decades of experience responding to disasters in Indonesia, a country prone to earthquakes, and where a tsunami killed hundreds of thousands of people in 2004. For updates, go to the CRS Press Room.