In the fall of 2018, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck the towns of Palu and Sigi in the Central Sulawesi area of Indonesia that negatively impacted the lives of over 675,000 people. The epicenter of the quake was about 17 miles from Donggala and 10 miles below the service.
Soon after the evening earthquake, caused by shifts in the Palu-Koro fault, a tsunami warning was issued in Central Sulawesi. Unfortunately, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency revoked the warning 30 minutes later. Shortly afterward, a large wave of water hit the shoreline, sweeping away many people and several small buildings.
So too, several areas of Central Sulawesi were hit by massive landslides following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. The ravishing, flowing mud dragged away and buried several homes. The Jakarta Post reported, “It is feared that more than 2,000 in the (surrounding area) are dead with many homes having been dragged away by mud.”
According to the Jakarta Post, communications were cut off following the tsunami, and as a result confusion ensued. This affected 375,000 residents in Palu and another 300,000 in and around Donggala. The government has announced that 2,086 people died, 4,438 were injured, 206,524 were displaced, and 1,309 are unaccounted for as a result of this natural disaster. It has been estimated that nearly 69,000 homes, places of worship, stores, schools and office buildings were damaged by the quake.
Together with our donors, AMG responded quickly, providing those in need with undergarments, bath soap, kitchen tools, dishes, silverware, and flashlights and batteries. This distribution was done in coordination with local churches ministering in the impacted areas. Many of the people we are serving and ministering to live in tent communities, while others have decided to remain in their damaged homes. One of the children helped by AMG said, “Although my house was destroyed, God provided for my family through the help of AMG and its supporters. Thank you very much for your help. I pray that God will bless you abundantly.”
Fridelin shared his experience following the earthquake. “The lights in my house started to flicker and then we lost power. That’s when the quake hit. I ran to the front of the house and my dad pulled me outside. I passed out, and when I woke up, I saw that our house had been flattened. I was afraid and started crying. We soon discovered that my older sister was missing. She had been buried in the debris and mud. My father was able to dig her out. Although she was injured, she is safe now. The families in the community gathered together after the earthquake to thank God for protecting them. We lost our homes, but we are alive.”
Amin also shared his experience writing, “I tried to run out of the house, but I couldn’t because the walls were caving in. Fortunately, a sofa chair protected me from the falling walls. My head was struck by debris, but I was able to crawl out of the house. I sat on the side of the road and saw people injured and in tears. I then saw my mom and ran to hug her tearfully. My family gathered together and just prayed. We lost our house and are currently living in a tent. I don’t know what we are going to do, but I’m grateful to be alive.”
As believers, we are called to help the poor and the helpless. The people we have served and continue to serve in Central Sulawesi are understandingly shaken by recent events. Our national leaders are diligently and compassionately working to bring hope to people in times of great loss, while pointing them to Jesus as the one who truly restores broken lives. We are grateful for our faithful financial partners who help make our relief efforts possible. As God moves on your heart, please consider giving to AMG’s disaster relief fund so we can continue to respond when needed to help transform communities impacted by natural and man-made disasters.