On Sep 28, 2018, a 7.4 Richter scale devastated Palu, Central Sulawesi, which induced tsunami as high as 6 meters (20 feet) in Palu and surrounding area. The physical geography of Palu creates a disadvantage as the waves were funneled into the bay without no way out but over-flow inland.
Adding to the problem, the tsunami buoys did not function to gave warnings to the residents. Chaos took place after several waves pounded the coastline from Donggala to Palu, destroyed and damaged 65,733 houses , killing 1,234 people (as of Oct 3, 2018).
The airport of Palu was affected as 20% of the runway was damaged, causing a limitation with remaining 2,000 m runway. The airport was closed and only used for humanitarian efforts organized by the military and government agencies. The commercial flights were canceled.
HOPE worldwide rushed to the site as relief teams from Jakarta, Manado, and Makasar left the next day to reach Palu through almost 1,000 km. Life-saving supplies of food, water, medicine, and emergency shelter were rushed.
Once arrive in Palu, team distribute supplies to communities in need.The residents were restless as reports of lootings took place in several locations in the city. Adding to that, restless residents stormed the airport as hundreds (some reported thousands) flocked the apron on airport. At one point, they cover the runway, disturbing the activities of airplanes landing and taking off.
Residents scrambled to higher ground and needing assistance. The AHA Center reported that 1.5 million people affected by the earthquake and tsunami, and 191,000 people urgently needing assistance. Until the 5th day after the disaster, reports from various villages that they need food and shelters. Electricity was down, as well as clean water is scarce. The gas station ran out of fuels and created rationing and long lines.
The scale of disaster is beyond what the experts expected. The area was shutdown and is unreachable by air. Search and rescue teams struggled to arrive to location, while the government is not yet to open door for international search and rescue teams.
The government on Oct 2 list down main needs of displaced persons. This disaster will take a long journey for recovery. HOPE worldwide is standing by with the people of Central Sulawesi. We are mobilizing supplies and services as we try to save lives.
Please Pray for the efforts on the ground.