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The natural disaster that struck the island of Sulawesi on September 28, 2018 was threefold: an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 caused widespread devastation and simultaneously triggered off a tsunami that smashed into the coast with waves 11 meters high. As a result, near the city of Palu the earth liquefied, which then acted like a mudslide and buried everything beneath it. More than 4 000 people died and 170 000 were left homeless.
Caritas Switzerland began its emergency aid activities immediately after the disaster. In ten villages in the districts of Donggala and Sigi, 2 000 families received blankets, towels, soap, water filters and other urgently needed emergency supplies. In the village of Sibalaya Utara, Caritas Switzerland set up water tanks for the health centre, schools and affected neighbourhoods because the water system had been destroyed. In ten tent camps, rooms were specially set up in which children could enjoy free-time activities, so helping them to recover from the horrors of the catastrophe. More than 900 destitute families were able to participate in clean-up work and thus earn some income. Over 150 families in special need, because they were unable to attend the work program due to illness or physical disability, received financial aid.
Water supply for 1100 households
Ten months after the disaster, there is still a huge need for support in the affected population. As in the past, Caritas Switzerland is working jointly with its two local partners, Yayasan IBU and Yayasan Pusaka. In the coming months, the water supply and sanitary facilities in five villages will be cleaned out and rebuilt. A total of more than 1100 households will thereby have access to clean drinking water and toilets. In addition, Caritas and its partners will run training courses in hygiene and waste disposal. Thereby, 525 peasant farmer families will be supported in restoring their living conditions and livelihoods: as part of a cash-for-work programme, they will receive financial compensation for cleaning up fields and refurbishing irrigation systems. Further to this, these farmer families will receive financial subsidies, with which they can buy sowing seed and machinery. In nine communities, Caritas Switzerland is working jointly with its partners to improve disaster risk management.
Caritas Switzerland disaster aid, which is also supported by Swiss Solidarity, and including the already commenced reconstruction project, totals 2.2 million Swiss francs.