Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami
USAID is providing humanitarian aid to people affected by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake and tsunami.
AFP/Jewel Samad

Key Developments

On September 28, a series of earthquakes struck Indonesia, with an initial 6.1 magnitude earthquake and subsequent aftershocks leading up to a magnitude 7.5 earthquake three hours later. The epicenter of the 7.5 magnitude earthquake, which triggered a subsequent tsunami and hundreds of aftershocks, was located approximately 48 miles north of Sulawesi Island’s Palu city, Central Sulawesi Province.

The earthquake and tsunami had resulted in at least 2,081 deaths and displaced more than 205,000 individuals as of October 25, the Government of Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Authority reports. While electricity and basic services are gradually returning to affected areas, the GoI has emphasized the need to quickly repair earthquake-damaged infrastructure and remove debris and heavily damaged structures, which pose safety risks.

The Government of Indonesia (GoI) is coordinating with regional disaster management authorities, the Indonesian Red Cross Society, non-governmental organizations, the UN, and international donors to meet the needs of disaster-affected populations in Central Sulawesi

Province. Earthquake- and tsunami-affected households continue to require relief commodities and health, protection, shelter, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) support, the UN reports.

On October 18, the United States Government (USG) announced an additional $3 million in assistance to address urgent humanitarian needs in Indonesia. The U.S. Department of Defense has authorized up to $5 million in funding to address humanitarian needs validated by USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, raising total USG humanitarian support for the response to up to $11.7 million. With this assistance, the USG is providing emergency protection, livelihoods, relief commodity, shelter, and WASH support to disaster-affected populations, as well as technical assistance to GoI disaster management authorities.


Indonesia is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries and regularly experiences drought, earthquakes, flooding, landslides, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Recent major disasters include the eruption of Mt. Merapi in 2010—which resulted in at least 386 deaths and displaced more than 300,000 people—and the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, which caused widespread destruction and more than 130,000 deaths in Indonesia. When disaster strikes, USAID/OFDA works with national and local government officials, civil society, and humanitarian partners to meet humanitarian needs and complement government relief efforts. USAID/OFDA also supports a number of initiatives in Indonesia to improve the capacity of government officials, non-governmental organizations, and local communities to prepare for and respond to disasters.

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Last updated: November 23, 2018

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