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 1,571 deaths, injured more than 2,540 people, and displaced more than 70,820 individuals as of October 5, the GoI National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB) reports, and the death toll is expected to rise.

According to BNPB, priority humanitarian needs in Central Sulawesi include food, shelter, relief commodities, and water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance, as well as fuel, electricity, repairs to telecommunications networks, and rescue and evacuation support. Local first responders initiated search-and-rescue, humanitarian assessment and response, and debris removal operations immediately after the disaster.

On October 1, the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Joseph R. Donovan Jr. issued a disaster declaration for Indonesia due to the effects of the recent earthquakes and tsunami. In response, USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance provided an initial $100,000 to support emergency response efforts. On October 5, Ambassador Donovan announced plans to provide an additional $3.6 million to address urgent humanitarian needs in Indonesia.


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: October 09, 2018

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