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Palu-Donggala Earthquake & Tsunami [Updated 10/29]

CSEAS is monitoring the rescue efforts in the recent Palu-Donggala earthquake and tsunami that happened in western Sulawesi on September 28, 2018. If you would like to assist with the rescue/recovery efforts, we recommend making a donation online to one of the below organizations:

  • Indonesia-based assistance organization Kopernik is working to provide solar lights, phone chargers, and water filters. Donate here.
  • UNICEF is working to reunite unaccompanied and separated children with their families, support infant and young child feeding, provide clean water through mobile water treatment, and help children recover. Donate here.
  • CARE is preparing to respond by providing relief items such as drinking water, emergency hygiene kits with buckets to collect water, soap, and sanitary napkins. They will also provide emergency family shelter kits (including items such as tarps, sleeping mats, blankets, and solar lights) to those who have lost their homes to help them survive during the rebuilding process. Donate here.
Palu-Donggala tsunami and earthquake damage
Photo from Indonesia BNBP (National Disaster Management Authority)


On the evening of Friday, September 28, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake 10 km (6.2 mi) under the western coast of Sulawesi triggered a tsunami wave of up to 6 m (19 ft) which swept into Palu Bay at 400 km/h (250 mph). The wave devastated the city. Relief efforts are currently underway, though slow in some areas due to difficulty in accessing them (especially with heavy equipment).

Oct 27 – A month on, Indonesia’s quake-tsunami hit Palu city faces health crisis

  • A health crisis has resulted from heavy rains spreading malaria and dengue fever, difficulty of access to clean water, temporary living conditions, and decomposing bodies.
  • “The Indonesian authorities lifted a state of emergency on Friday[, October 26], after which a “transition period” is to continue before that ends on Dec 25.”

Oct 10 – ‘Hammers and a hoe’: Indonesia keeps digging as official tsunami search ends

  • Includes then-current state of search and relief efforts
  • “This week the disaster agency said that, based on reports from local village chiefs, there could be 5,000 people missing from Petobo and Balaroa, although these are yet to be accounted for in the official figures. With the search called off apart from some small-scale efforts, many could be presumed dead.”

Oct 1 – Indonesia’s twin disasters: a visual guide to the devastation

  • Includes maps of affected areas, earthquake epicenter and tsunami direction
  • “A 14-day state of emergency has been declared in Indonesia as the country reels from an earthquake and tsunami”
  • “Thousands of homes and buildings have been destroyed, including an entire housing estate home to 900 people.”
  • “Officials have warned that the final death toll could rise into the thousands, with some of the worst hit areas still yet to be accessed by rescuers.”

Sept 30 – Indonesia Tsunami Death Toll Climbs Above 800

  • Includes map of affected areas earthquake epicenter and tsunami direction
  • Recounts current state of damage and relief efforts
  • “On Sunday, rescue workers from domestic aid agencies trickled into Palu, having driven at least 20 hours from the nearest major airport to set up their command centers in the devastated city. The Palu airport, damaged by the earthquake, was only accepting a limited number of planes laden with relief supplies.”
  • “President Joko Widodo toured Palu on Sunday and said rescuers were having difficulty reaching victims because of the shortage of heavy equipment. Fuel, electricity and food are also in short supply.”