Indonesian Red Cross volunteers and staff are racing to help survivors of the earthquakes and tsunami that hit Central Sulawesi province on Friday, killing at least 384 people and injuring hundreds more in Palu city.
The full extent of the disaster is not yet known as communications are still down and rescue teams have not yet reached the district of Donggala, which was closest to the epicentre of the 7.4 magnitude earthquake.
Jan Gelfand, Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Country Cluster Support office in Jakarta, said: “This was a terrifying double disaster – the powerful earthquake, and then a tsunami. The Indonesian Red Cross is racing to help survivors but we don’t know what they’ll find there.
“We’re now getting limited communications about the destruction in Palu city, but we have heard nothing from Donggala and this is extremely worrying. There are more than 300,000 people living there. This is already a tragedy, but it could get much worse.”
The Indonesian Red Cross has deployed experts in search and rescue, medical teams, five ambulances and three water trucks, and has dispatched emergency relief items such as tarpaulins, blankets, jerry cans, sarongs and sleeping mats. With road and air transport compromised, the teams are having to travel upwards of 10 hours to reach the disaster zone.
IFRC is expected to release funds from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund later today to support the Indonesian Red Cross’ life-saving work.