destroyed houses on Sulawesi in Indonesia
© ASB Indonesien

Indonesia: Emergency aid after severe earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi


one-time    regular
In September 2018, the east coast of Sulawesi Island was the scene of a double catastrophe: an earthquake and the subsequent tsunami devastated the region. At one blow, the lives of tens of thousands of people fell to pieces. arche noVa participated in the emergency relief measures with a project in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene.
Simple World Map - Author: Al MacDonald Editor: Fritz Lekschas License: CC BY-SA 3.0 ID: ISO 3166-1 or "_[a-zA-Z]" if an ISO code is not available

28 September 2018, 6 p.m.: Approximately 80 kilometres north of the Indonesian city of Palu on Sulawesi, the epicentre of an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 on the Richter scale is developing. Underwater slides cause a tsunami with a wave height of up to nine metres. The city of Palu and the districts of Sigi and Donggala are the most affected areas. The tsunami caused many houses around Palu to collapse, and ground liquefaction caused entire buildings to disappear. The consequences of the floods are additional. Since the earthquake had destroyed sirens and telephone poles, many residents of Sulawesi cannot be warned. The number of deaths is estimated at over 2,000, the number of missing persons is over 1,300.

After building emergency shelters and searching for the missing, one thing quickly becomes clear: there is a lack of clean drinking water and food to supply those affected. The scale of the aid needs is enormous. A total of 1.5 million people need help. However, some of them are difficult to reach as access roads and communication facilities have also been damaged.

Cooperation in emergency aid operations

On 01. October, the Indonesian government sends out an international appeal for help. On October, two experts from arche noVa together with three members of the Workers' Samaritan Federation will start their trip to Indonesia. The cooperation takes place within the alliance “Aktion Deutschland Hilft”. In the luggage of the emergency helpers are five SkyHydrant water filters.

The emergency team's target is Balikpapan, the neighbouring island of Sulawesi. An international logistics centre was set up here, as only national aid organisations can enter the crisis area. arche noVa and the ASB concentrate their work on training sessions on the subject of sky hydrants and latrines for the disabled.

Training of local helpers

Local helpers from ASB Indonesia and other organizations are trained in quick courses. They should set up the drinking water treatment plants and temporary sanitary facilities for the affected people in the disaster area in a timely manner, with a particular focus on the needs of people with impairments. arche noVa imparts expert knowledge in the field of filtration technology and attaches great importance to people being able to clean and install the filters themselves.

In addition to the seven-day workshop, arche noVa employees on the Indonesian island procure equipment and materials such as hoses. They complete the filtration systems that will be installed on Sulawesi. Local products have the advantage of short transport routes and costs and at the same time promote the local economy.

WASH as inclusive help

Where the water and sanitation systems will finally be installed in the disaster area, the ASB Indonesia team is researching with local organisations for the disabled. As people with disabilities and older people are among the most vulnerable, their integration will be particularly taken into account in the project. Their right to humanitarian aid should be made possible in swiftly built community shelters, by adapting activities to their specific needs. This applies, for example, to the construction of the sanitary facilities and the accessibility of the water intake points.


20 filtration systems are installed

20 SkyHydrants, 100 latrines and 1,250 hygiene kits will be installed, built and distributed. Another part of the project is the promotion of hygiene for at least 2,000 people. Particularly disadvantaged groups are also taken into account. These include people with disabilities, women and the elderly. Hygiene promotion is particularly important in crisis areas in order to prevent diseases caused, for example, by polluted water.

Following the emergency and transitional aid, longer-term activities are to be carried out in the project. These include training in safer construction, evacuation exercises in schools and communities, and improving accessibility to schools, community health centres and community administrations.



Project Overview


Contribute to comprehensive humanitarian assistance and early recovery from earthquakes and tsunamis in Central Sulawesi.

Target Group

20 villages around Palu

  • Establishing contact with the affected community
  • Provision of WASH assistance, including accessible sanitation facilities.
  • Distribution of hygiene sets
  • Training measures on integration, accessibility, WASH, earthquake and tsunami safety procedures
  • Establishment of a community-based committee for conception, implementation and evaluation of project activities
  • Supporting local disability organisations in networking
  • improving the accessibility of schools, community health centres and municipalities   
  • cash for work
  • strengthening disaster preparedness and resilience, including safe building training and evacuation exercises



Since October 2018
Co-operation partners

Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB) Office for Indonesia and the Philippines


  • Aktion Deutschland Hilft
  • Private donors