Residents carry possessions salvaged from the rubble of homes in West Palu, Central Sulawesi, after the earthquake and tsunami that struck Sulawesi on 28 September 2018. Credit: UNICEF/@Arimacswilander
UN Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock, will announce today an allocation from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to bolster relief assistance for people affected by the 7.4 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, on 28 September. The CERF funds will allow UN agencies and humanitarian organizations to rapidly scale up support to the Government-led response in the areas of logistics, shelter, safe water and sanitation, health care, camp coordination and camp management, emergency livelihoods and protection services.
"The Government of Indonesia is experienced and well-equipped in managing natural disasters, but sometimes, as with all other countries, outside help is also needed", Mr. Lowcock said. "Given the scale and complexity of this emergency, UN agencies and humanitarian organizations are working closely with government counterparts to provide life-saving assistance. CERF funds will support UN agencies already on the ground to help respond to key priorities identified by the Government and assist the tens of thousands of people in need. To give just one example, reports make clear that many health clinics and hospitals are damaged and overstretched. Staff from UNFPA are already in Pula, and CERF money will be used to help them and other agencies meet the needs of women and girls, who we know from experience round the world are often particularly vulnerable in circumstances like this.”
As of today, 1,234 people have died following the earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi on 28 September. Some 800 people have been seriously injured and nearly 100 people are still missing. It is likely that the casualty figures will increase as more areas become accessible and the Government conducts more assessments. An estimated 66,000 houses have been damaged and there are almost 62,000 people who are displaced and staying in over 100 sites. Thousands of people are unable to return to their damaged or destroyed homes and aftershocks continue.
Liquefaction has been reported in Petobo village in Palu, with black mud rising up to five metres and reportedly burying one hundred people alive. Liquefaction has also been reported in south Palu, Biromaru (Sigi district) and Sidera village (Sigi district). Landslides from Toboli to Palu have been reported.
A 15-year old girl is rescued from the rubble of her house in central Sulawesi on 30 September 2018. Credit: UNICEF/@Arimacswilander
The earthquake and tsunami destroyed vital infrastructure including roads and bridges, and damaged the main Palu airport, and there have been numerous land and mudslides, leaving many affected communities cut off. This is severely hampering the delivery of relief, and as such the Government has requested the international community to provide logistical support to augment response and ensure aid gets to all those in need.
The Government and humanitarian agencies are working tirelessly to try and deliver life-saving aid. But the needs are vast, and people urgently require shelter, clean water, food, fuel, emergency medical care and psychosocial support. Water remains the main issue as most of water supply infrastructure has been damaged. Government offices are using water trucks, but these are not sufficient for the needs of those affected by the disaster.
Through its Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) OCHA is providing technical support including data collection and analysis, needs assessment and information management (see OCHA's latest Infographics).
The Government of Indonesia has significant experience and capacity to manage natural disasters and its agencies are coordinating the response and gathering information on the earthquake’s impact. Since the disaster happened, humanitarian agencies have been in close communication with the Government and stand ready to provide whatever support may be required. Humanitarian actors, including the Red Cross, NGOs and UN agencies, are already on the ground or en route to the affected areas to provide assistance and to conduct assessments to better understand the immediate needs. Yesterday, the Government of Indonesia welcomed specific offers of international assistance that are in line with identified humanitarian needs on the ground.
Established in 2005 as the UN’s global emergency response fund, CERF pools contributions from donors around the world into a single fund allowing humanitarian responders to deliver life-saving assistance whenever and wherever crises hit. CERF has a US$1 billion annual funding target and is fully unearmarked to ensure funds go to meet the most urgent, life-saving needs.
"Nothing is more important from the point of view of the coordination of humanitarian aid than to have a Fund that represents a meaningful volume of the assistance and that allows you to establish system-wide priorities in an effective way", said UN Secretary-General at the Central Emergency Response Fund: A Fund For All by All event in the margins of the UN General Assembly. "This is what the CERF can do."