On September 28, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake and tsunami struck Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island, followed by more than 500 aftershocks. As of October 10, more than 2,010 people have been killed, nearly 10,680 have been severely injured, and nearly 82,780 people have been displaced. Thousands of homes were completely destroyed, leaving families with nothing.
Here are four ways the United States is helping communities in need:
1. Sending a USAID Disaster Team
USAID deployed a team of disaster experts to Indonesia to coordinate U.S. response efforts, conduct damage assessments, identify priority needs, and work closely with local authorities, the Government of Indonesia, and humanitarian organizations.
2. Providing U.S. Military Support
USAID requested the unique capabilities of the U.S. military to support its response by providing transportation and logistics assistance. The Department of Defense U.S. Indo-Pacific Command deployed three C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft, which, to date, have delivered nearly 63 metric tons of relief supplies to Central Sulawesi Province, along with transporting USAID’s disaster team and nearly 80 aid workers.
The 36th Contingency Response Group, a U.S. Air Force unit based out of Anderson Air Force Base in Guam, is also working at airfields in Palu and Balikpapan to expedite the flow of cargo so that humanitarian aid can reach affected communities more quickly.
3. Airlifting Heavy-Duty Plastic Sheeting
USAID’s disaster team conducted assessments in Palu and confirmed that emergency shelter is a top humanitarian need. As a result, USAID is airlifting 2,210 rolls of heavy-duty plastic sheeting to Indonesia from our emergency warehouses in Dubai and Malaysia. This is enough to provide for the emergency shelter needs of 110,500 people. USAID will then work with the U.S. military and partners on the ground to ensure the sheeting gets distributed to people impacted by the earthquake.
4. Supporting Humanitarian Programs
To help people who have lost everything, we’re working with World Vision Indonesia to provide emergency shelter kits, blankets, hygiene kits, solar-powered lamps, and other critical relief supplies. And because disasters can have a disproportionate effect on children, we’re also creating safe spaces to help them cope with what happened and have a safe place to play.
To date, the United States has provided $3.7 million in humanitarian aid to the earthquake and tsunami response efforts. We stand by the people of Indonesia during this challenging time, and will continue our work to save lives, alleviate suffering, and help the people of Central Sulawesi recover.