Islamic Relief and local partner organisations are assisting rescue and aid efforts in Donggala and Palu, as the death toll from the recent earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia continues to rise and could reach in the thousands.

Staff members from our local partner organisation PKPU drove for over 17 hours and slept on pavements to arrive in Donggala as quick as they could and were among the first to respond. They are helping to clear the rubble, pull out the dead bodies and transport injured people to nearby medical centres.

They have also installed a generator, allowing people to charge their phones and make urgent phone calls to their relatives.

Large areas are still inaccessible, with bodies trapped under the rubble and injured people are in desperate need of health care. Thousands of homes have collapsed, along with hospitals, hotels and a shopping centre.

In Palu City, a medical team from our local partner organisation, Rumah Zakat, is assessing the most seriously injured and further medical staff and equipment, along with an ambulance, are on their way.

Nanang Dirja, Islamic Relief’s country director for Indonesia, said:

“It’s a devastating situation, with dead bodies everywhere, including on the beaches and in the water. Rescue work is a race against time as many people are still stuck under the rubble. In one area of Palu City, 500 houses have collapsed and search and rescue has not yet started.

The land and mudslides have cut off major roads, which has hindered access to people in desperate need. We’re hearing of so many urgent medical cases, such as traumatic head injuries and broken bones and many of them are out of reach.

There has been no electricity for three days and our partner staff have been operating in complete darkness. Thousands of people been left homeless, taking refuge wherever they can and there are huge shortages of food, water and medicine.”

Islamic Relief has launched an emergency appeal for up to $1million and in addition to the supporting the rescue efforts, we will be delivering food, water and essential household items and repairing water systems.

We will also be conducting a needs assessment and will make sure we are reaching the most vulnerable, such as those who are badly injured, disabled people, pregnant women, babies and the elderly.

Nanang Dirja added:

“We are determined to do as much as we can in these initial emergency stages and then to help people to recover and eventually rebuild. The shock of this disaster will be felt for months and years to come, long after the headlines fade.”

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