Over 1 700 dead in Indonesia after earthquake and tsunami

unsplash-logoSunyu Kim | Unrelated to article

At the end of September, an earthquake and a tsunami hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, killing close to 2 000 people and leaving over 5 000 missing.

Artículo disponible en Español | Article disponible en Français

The 28th of September, an earthquake of 7.5 magnitude happened near the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, triggering a tsunami. The initial death toll quickly rose, initially to 1 200, then to 1 450, and now standing at over 1 700 dead. It is estimated that around 5 000 people could still be missing, with over 60 000 people displaced due to the natural disaster. The areas affected have been entirely destroyed by the landslides and mud, complicating the search and rescue operations. The authorities are considering leaving said areas untouched, and declaring them as mass graves, with any hope of finding survivors gone at this point. The rescue operations will stop on October 11th.

Tens of thousands of people, especially the army, participated in the rescue operations. Help took some time to arrive, leading to temporary shortages of food and water, as well as social unrest. Eventually, international help arrived, with supplies coming from neighbouring Japan, the US and the EU, as well as other countries.

As priorities change and the initial chaos period ends, people are starting to wonder why no warnings were issued, just to find out the existing warning systems had been neglected or vandalized by the locals, a lack of investment in proper infrastructure and a lack of prevention/education on what to do when such disasters strike.

The European Commission has already offered help, by providing maps of the area near the earthquake’s epicentre and the coast, as well as approving an initial 1.5 million euros package of EU humanitarian assistance. The EU is also deploying an expert to the area, to help coordinate the EU’s relief efforts.

More on this subject:​