A group of seven young children are gathered in a space littered with branches, blankets and trash. When their homes were destroyed in the 2018 Indonesia earthquake and tsunami, theylived in a temporary shelter and survived on supplies provided by Save the Children and other aid organizations. Photo credit: Ardiles Rante / Save the Children, Oct 2018.

Save the Children is helping survivors of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Indonesia.

Save the Children Statement on Indonesian Government Decision to Call Off Search and Rescue Operation in Earthquake and Tsunami Hit Sulawesi

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Oct. 11, 2018)—Save the Children has expressed its deep sadness at the news that search and rescue efforts have been stopped in Sulawesi, meaning thousands of missing people are now presumed dead.

“It was with a heavy heart that today we learned the search and rescue mission for survivors of the earthquake and tsunami in Central Sulawesi has been called off by the Government of Indonesia,” said Selina Sumbung, Chairperson of Save the Children’s national partner in Indonesia, Yayasan Sayangi Tunas Cilik (YSTC).

“According to the national disaster mitigation agency, the number of people missing in the disaster has risen to more than 5000 people, including potentially 1,500 children. Children are particularly vulnerable in disasters, and to think that so many will never have the chance to grow up is heart-breaking.

“These figures hide the individual suffering of each one of these families, who need to cope with the horror of not knowing whether their loved ones are alive. The anxiety they must be feeling, along with the daily concerns of finding food to eat or a dry place to sleep, is hard to comprehend.

“We join communities affected by the disaster in solidarity as they rebuild their lives, and we will continue to work tirelessly to provide these communities with critical support like shelter, hygiene kits, fresh water, and psychosocial support.”

In Indonesia, Save the Children works through YSTC, which has established family tracing and reunification procedures with other agencies to help reunite children with their families, as well as to setting up child protection systems and reporting mechanisms to keep children safe. It has also set up a registration tent where parents and children who have been separated can lodge missing person reports, and from where children can be taken to a safe shelter while the agency searches for their family.

Save the Children’s partner has also provided hundreds of affected families in Sulawesi with life-saving relief including fresh water kits, plastic sheeting and ropes for shelter and hygiene items. Daily distributions are planned over the coming weeks.

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Since our founding more than 100 years ago, we’ve changed the lives of more than 1 billion children. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


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