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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.

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Facts & Figures: Indonesia’s 2018 Earthquake and Tsunami

A catastrophic 7.5 magnitude earthquake and 20-foot high tsunami struck Sulawesi, Indonesia on Friday, killing more than 1,200 people, causing widespread destruction, and impacting hundreds of thousands of children.

“Early reports show a large tsunami hitting coastal communities in central Sulawesi with some force, causing buildings to collapse and cutting power to coastal communities. Our team is responding by providing emergency supplies and hygiene kits to families affected by the quake,” said Save the Children’s Program Implementation Director, Tom Howells from Jakarta. “We are also planning to set up Child Friendly Spaces in shelters for those who have lost their homes, to ensure families and children are safe and have the supplies they need, like diapers and cribs.”

Save the Children has been working in Indonesia since 1976, and has a long history responding to humanitarian disasters in the country, including the recent earthquakes in Lombok and the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. Expert humanitarian staff from Save the Children’s local partner in Indonesia are traveling 500 miles by boat to reach the worst affected communities.

FAQs: What you need to know about the 2018 Indonesia earthquake and tsunami

Who was affected by the earthquake and tsunami?

Children have endured an incredibly distressing, and potentially traumatic event, and the emotional toll is made so much worse by the strong aftershocks that continue.

Save the Children is hearing early reports of children being orphaned or separated from their families. It is absolutely critical that extra care and attention is paid to children in the coming, days, weeks and months, while significant work is done to ensure children are reunited with their families.

Are children and families displaced?

Power remains out and landslides have blocked key roads. Other vital infrastructure including the airport in Palu have been badly damaged.

Many children and families are sleeping outside because their homes were damaged and aftershocks continue.

Access to the hardest hit areas, including Dongala, is a huge issue. While we still don’t know the full scale of the crisis yet, we know it is immense and have grave fears for the families in this area.


To learn more about Save the Children’s work in Indonesia and how to help, please visit: