Emergency alert

Mercy Corps team members are on the ground now providing urgently needed supplies after an earthquake killed more than 2,000 people.

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  • Photo: Cassandra Nelson/Mercy Corps

UPDATE: Our response to the earthquake in Indonesia

More than 2,000 people have been killed in a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami that hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on September 28. Tens of thousands are displaced and in desperate need of food, water and basic healthcare.

The needs on the ground are staggering, but we still don’t have a handle on the true scale of this tragedy. Damage to critical roads and infrastructure means that some affected communities are still waiting to receive support. People are trapped and the aid isn’t getting through.

Our team members are on the ground now responding to the immediate needs of survivors of this disaster. Mercy Corps is providing hygiene kits that include soap, shampoo, towels, jerry cans, buckets and other household items. We are focused on reaching the most vulnerable people, including the elderly and pregnant women.

"Some people are now receiving basic food items like rice, noodles and canned food, but this remains a small minority. The food situation in Palu remains dire, and with the market closed we’re even struggling to feed ourselves," says Genadi Aryawan, a Mercy Corps team member. "Makeshift camps have sprung up across the city and many lack adequate sanitation, creating a risk of disease. Some of the people I spoke with told me they would rather sleep under a sheet of plastic than risk going back inside. They are traumatized and scared to go home."

Donate now to our Humanitarian Response Fund to help families in Indonesia and others suffering in crisis around the world.

Mercy Corps has been working in Indonesia for nearly 20 years and our team on the ground are experts in disaster response. We are also still responding to the Lombok earthquake, which occurred in August and displaced 20,000 people.

We are committed to empowering people around the world to survive through crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good. Recognized as a leader in delivering rapid, lifesaving aid to hard-hit communities, we have responded to almost every global emergency in the past 20 years, including the Nepal earthquakes (2015), Philippines typhoon (2013), the Japan earthquake and tsunami (2011), Horn of Africa drought and hunger crisis (2010) and Kashmir earthquake (2005). We were also one of the first responders to the Indian Ocean tsunami (2004) and Haiti earthquake (2010).

The context

About half of all Indonesians live on less than two dollars a day. Employment growth has been slower than population growth. Public services remain inadequate by middle-income standards, and health indicators are poor. The island is also one of the most disaster-prone nations in the world.

Our work

  • Economic opportunity: Providing technical assistance, training and financial services to microfinance institutions throughout the country and helping spice farmers earn more income
  • Health: Raising awareness and supporting mothers to practice and promote exclusive breastfeeding
  • Water: Improving sanitation and hygiene in crowded urban areas with a mobile sludge removal service
  • Disaster preparedness: Identifying and mapping areas at risk and helping those communities plan, train and practice how to respond when disasters occur
  • Emergency response: Maintaining a response team ready to quickly deploy and provide immediate relief to survivors during the critical first months after a disaster strikes