On September 28, 2018, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake shook the ground in western Sulawesi, an island in central Indonesia. The quake sent a tsunami — with waters rising over 20 feet — hurtling towards the coast. In minutes, entire villages were swept away as the earth turned to liquid and violently swallowed buildings, cars and people. The destruction in the city of Palu, and its surrounding villages, was utterly devastating. In the wake of the disaster, over 200,000 people needed immediate critical aid. Over 70,000 people were left homeless, sleeping on the ground and searching for missing children, parents and neighbors under the mud and rubble.
Though the official death toll climbed to 2,000, over 5,000 people remain missing. After less than two weeks, the Indonesian government called off all official search efforts — declaring the mountains of rubble mass graves. Thousands of people may never be found.
Meanwhile, critical, lifesaving aid remains scarce. Makeshift hospitals struggle to meet the desperate needs of the injured; water and food are extremely limited. Thousands of people in Sulawesi are desperate for aid.
AJWS is staying the course with our longstanding strategy for natural disaster relief: collaborating with local organizations to understand exactly what they need, and who needs it most.
We opened the Indonesia Disaster Relief Fund and set to work with local partners to provide immediate material aid and to plan for the long, difficult road ahead: rebuilding lives utterly torn apart by this disaster.
AJWS is currently supporting organizations that are working to:
- Distribute relief packages for mothers with young children and babies
- Establish a community center and free kitchen run by local women
- Empower youth and women’s groups to lead recovery efforts for the most vulnerable communities