A series of tsunamis hit coastal communities along the Sunda Strait in Indonesia on Sat., Dec. 22, 2018. The hardest-hit area was the western coast of Banten province in Java. Deaths and destruction were also reported in Sunatra’s Lampung province. As of Dec. 31, the tsunamis had killed at least 437 people with more than 14,000 injured and dozens missing. Indonesian rock band Seventeen was performing in an outdoor concert for state utility PLN in the beach resort of Tanjung Lesung when the tsunami hit. Some members of the band, their crew and families are deceased or missing, as well as 29 concertgoers. The timing, although not the severity, is reminiscent of the Indian Ocean Tsunami on Dec. 26, 2004.
The tsunamis were triggered by underwater landslides, following the eruption of the Anak Krakatau volcano which sits halfway between Indonesia’s islands of Java and Sumatra. Both are located within the Pacific Ring of Fire which has been very active this year. Anak Krakatau means child of Krakatau. It is an island that formed on the remnants of the volcanic island Krakatau which was destroyed in 1883, killing more than 36,000 people.
There was significant disruption to communications and the full death and damage toll is not yet finalized. Latest reports indicate that 2,752 houses and 510 ships were destroyed and 33,719 people were displaced.
Immediate needs include direct cash support to organizations providing:
- Fresh water and sanitation
- Medical supplies and personnel
- Fuel, electricity, communications technology and other infrastructure needs
While we recognize the importance of the urgent and critical needs in a disaster, history has shown us that long-term recovery needs such as housing and economic development will be present for months and years to come. Indonesia is currently in a search and rescue mode which will be followed by damage assessment. Only once damage assessment has been completed will the full impact be known.
In international disasters, cash donations are recommended by disaster experts as they allow for on-the-ground agencies to direct funds to the greatest area of need, to support economic recovery and to ensure that donations management doesn’t take away from disaster recovery needs.
While CDP does not currently recommend any specific nonprofits, we do encourage donors to consider the following before supporting any organization:
- Does the organization have a pre-existing relationship in the impacted country? This can include working in previous disasters or ongoing program delivery.
- Does the organization have staff on the ground, including locals who provide cultural, technical and geographic knowledge of the communities and their needs?
- Has the government requested international assistance and is the organization working through the proper channels (not self-deploying)?
- Does the organization have a disaster response history and/or provide a necessary service needed in a specific disaster? While a nonprofit may expand the scope of its work to meet communities’ needs, it should not be trying to change its mandate to take financial advantage of the disaster.
Financial support to help administer and deliver the vaccine to as many people as possible. This includes funding for medical personnel, transportation, security, personal protective equipment, public awareness and education, and the vaccine itself.
Funding for communication of information and educational programs about the disease.
If you are a responding NGO or a donor, please send updates on how you are working in this crisis to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a donor looking for recommendations on how to help in this crisis, please email email@example.com.
- Center for Disaster Philanthropy: Landslides Issue Insights
- Indonesian Emergency Management Organization: BNPB
Featured image source: Reuters Photo