In the early morning hours of January 15, a fatal 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck West Sulawesi, Indonesia. The quake was strongly felt for seven seconds in the Majene and Polewali districts of the country. The impact also affected electricity and communications in the surrounding area.
According to the Indonesian Disaster Management Agency, more than 42 people have died and over 600 people are injured. Currently, more than 17,000 households have been affected and more than15,000 people have been evacuated to safer areas. Indonesian Red Cross search and rescue teams continue to look for survivors in the rubble and provide first aid.
According to the Indonesian Red Cross Secretary General Sudirman, “This is a most tragic earthquake and our specialist teams have been working through the night to help people amid the rubble. Our first priority is to search for survivors and tend to the wounded. These hours are critical for saving lives. We are working double time to help injured survivors, keep them safe from COVID-19 and provide relief to the thousands who have been displaced from their homes.”
The Indonesian Red Cross (locally known as Palang Merah Indonesia) has mobilized specialist ambulance crews and first aid teams. They are treating the injured with first aid and transporting them to hospitals. Teams are assisting with the more than 15,000 displaced persons by helping evacuate residents from the earthquake zone to safer areas. Currently, there are ten evacuation sites.
“Families on the island of Sulawesi are no strangers to earthquakes – but each new disaster brings fresh heartbreak. Aftershocks remain a threat and knowing they can come at any time means that no one can rest,” remarks Sydney Morton, American Red Cross Disaster Responder, who deployed to Lombok in 2018 in response to a 7.4 magnitude earthquake on the island.
The Indonesian Red Cross is rushing critical relief supplies by plane to the earthquake-affected areas. There are more than 90 volunteers working to support this effort. Currently, they are providing clean water tankers, 300 tarps for shelter, boxes of face masks, 200 blankets and 200 family relief kits to help survivors.