A Story of Survival Following the Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami

Photography by Junaedi Uko 

At least 600,000 children have been affected after a catastrophic 7.5 magnitude earthquake and 20-foot-high tsunami struck Indonesia on September 28. 

“Many children are in shock and traumatized, alone and afraid,” said Child Protection Advisor Zubedy Koteng from Palu, the epicenter of the crisis. “Young children searching for surviving relatives will have witnessed and lived through horrific experiences which no child should ever have to see or undergo.”

Nine-year-old Puri* is one such child. Trapped under rubble for five hours, Puri was found and rescued by her brother and a group of other but suffered a serious head injury. Here is her story. 

Puri*, 9, with her brother, Dimas*, 33, await an emergency plane in Palu, Indonesia to take them to Makassar for treatment. Photo Credit: Junaedi Uko / Save the Children.

The ground beneath Puri’s house began to shake just as she was preparing her evening prayer. The pillars of the house fell on her head before Puri had a chance to realize what was happening around her. She cannot remember anything after that.

“Our house, where Puri was found,” explained Puri’s brother Dimas,* “shifted almost 50 meters from its original location. Very few houses remain intact. I didn’t expect anything to be saved at that time. Puri’s survival was a miracle.”

When Dimas found Puri she was almost unconscious, buried face downwards in the rubble. She had been using her one free hand to make noise and attract attention. 

“Some people who were also looking for their families heard her cries,” said Dimas.

Miraculously, Puri’s cries for help were heard. She was found alive but was badly hurt and suffering from a serious head injury.

When Save the Children spoke to Puri and her brother, the siblings were at Mutiara Airport in Palu, awaiting an emergency plane to take them to Makassar for treatment. 

Save the Children, working through its partner Yayasan Sayangi Tunas Cilik (YSTC), has delivered vital aid on a military plane to Palu.

“I can’t overstate how much this aid is needed by children and families impacted by the disaster,” Zubedy Koteng, Child Protection Specialist with Save the Children’s national entity in Indonesia, said.

“The earthquake and tsunami cut off many transport routes in this remote area. We sent out three teams, on different routes, with as many supplies as they could carry to ensure we could reach people as fast as we could but the journey has taken days. We are relieved that these much-needed supplies have arrived by plane and are starting to get through.

“Children urgently need shelter and essential hygiene items to prevent the spread of diseases and contamination as families are packed into evacuation centers with limited supply of clean water. We’re also sending school kits to ensure their education isn’t interrupted any further.”

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.

*Names changed for protection

 

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

YOUR SUPPORT CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN NEED. MAKE A DONATION TODAY!

 

 

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7 Facts About the History of Earthquakes and Tsunamis in Indonesia

help-for-indonesia-earthquake-tsunami-victimsSave the Children knows from years of experience that children are often the most vulnerable when disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis hit. In 2004, we mounted one of the largest humanitarian recovery efforts in Aceh following the Boxing Day Tsunami. We have spent the two decades since investing in the region to better prepare the children of Indonesia and their families for natural disasters. 

Find out seven things you need to know about emergency response efforts in Indonesia

1. Indonesia is the world’s largest country comprised solely of islands, a fact that puts the delicate islands constantly at risk of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods and tsunamis.

2. Widespread poverty, political instability and poor resource distribution contribute to the region’s fragile infrastructure, which is why Save the Children has been working in Indonesia for more than three decades.

3. On December 26, 2004, an underwater earthquake off the coast of Indonesia triggered a tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people. The 100-foot-tall wall of water devastated the coastline of nine countries on the Indian Ocean and thousands of communities were left in ruins. Save the Children’s dedicated emergency responders were there, helping 276,000 survivors recover.

4. On December 7, 2014, a deadly 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Sumatra. In Pidie Jaya district, one of the two worst affected, an estimated 25% to 30% of schools sustained damage, with at least seven schools totally destroyed. Save the Children responded, setting up temporary classrooms and establishing child friendly spaces so that so children could have a place to be safe and engage in educational play while their parents began the recovery process.

5. Today, Save the Children’s teams are working around the clock to help protect vulnerable children and provide desperately needed relief to families in the wake of a 7.5 earthquake and tsunami that hit Indonesia’s Sulawesi on September 28.

The magnitude quake triggered a tsunami with waves reportedly up to three meters high near the island’s capital Palu. Thousands are feared dead, with a confirmed death toll at 1,400 and rising. Widespread destruction is evident and hundreds of thousands of children remain at grave risk.

Save the Children is providing emergency supplies and hygiene kits to families affected by the quake and are 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.

While we still don’t know the full scale of the crisis yet, we do know it is immense and have grave fears for the families in this area.

6. 2004, 2016 and now 2018 all mark historic dates around devastating tsunamis and earthquakes in Indonesia. Many thousands of children lost their lives and many surviving children lost one or both parents. Children – especially those living in poverty – are the most vulnerable victims of a disaster and its aftermath. Their families are uprooted and their normal routines are often destroyed.

7. As Save the Children continues to respond with emergency assistance, we need your help now more than ever. Your generous gift can help protect vulnerable children and provide desperately needed relief to families. 

To learn more about Save the Children’s response and how you can help, please visit our website.

YOUR SUPPORT CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN NEED. MAKE A DONATION TODAY!

 

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Save the Children’s Emergency Response Efforts at Work in Indonesia

Photography by Karin Beate Nosterud 

On December 26, 2004, an underwater earthquake off the coast of Indonesia triggered a tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people. The 100-foot-tall wall of water devastated the coastline of nine countries on the Indian Ocean and thousands of communities were left in ruins.

Save the Children was there, providing assistance to some 276,000 survivors—the largest relief effort in our history.1 

“What could have been a follow-up catastrophe to the tsunami in terms of malaria, typhoid, cholera or pneumonia, never happened because people gave generously for medical supplies, shelters and care for children and that made all the difference. Did it really save those children? The answer is yes,” said Charles MacCormack, president and CEO of Save the Children at the time.

An 8-year-old boy is surrounded by debris and destruction following the 2004 tsunami that struck Indonesia on December 26.

Today, our commitment to the children of Indonesia remains as strong as ever, as we urgently work to help protect vulnerable children and provide desperately needed relief to families in the wake of a 7.5 earthquake and tsunami that hit Indonesia’s Sulawesi on September 28.

The magnitude quake triggered a tsunami with waves reportedly up to three meters high near the island’s capital Palu. Thousands are feared dead, with a confirmed death toll at 1,400 and rising. Widespread destruction is evident and hundreds of thousands of children remain at grave risk. 

Power outages and landslides have blocked key roads and rendered the most impacted areas, including Dongala, out of reach for now. 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.

While we still don’t know the full scale of the crisis yet, we do know it is immense and have grave fears for the families in this area.

“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.”2 

As Save the Children continues to respond with emergency assistance, we need your help now more than ever. Your generous gift can help protect vulnerable children and provide desperately needed relief to families.

To learn more about Save the Children’s response and how you can help, please visit our website.

YOUR SUPPORT CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN NEED. MAKE A DONATION TODAY!

 

1. Results for Children in 2005 

2. Concerns for Children After Powerful Magnitude 7.5 Earthquake and Tsunami Hits Indonesia’s Sulawesi