Indonesia tsunami 2018: key facts | ActionAid UK

Indonesia tsunami 2018: key facts

The Indonesia tsunami and earthquake that hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday 28 Sep has devastated everything in its path. With access to the affected areas difficult and communications down, the full scale of this tragedy is not yet known. Our local ActionAid team is bringing essential supplies to those who have lost everything and are without power, water or shelter. Read on for key facts and figures about the crisis. 

Thousands have been left homeless following the Indonesia tsunami and earthquake that hit Sulawesi on Friday 28 Sept 2018
Thousands have been left homeless following the Indonesia tsunami and earthquake that hit Sulawesi on Friday 28 Sept 2018

ActionAid’s response

Our local team have reached the most affected areas bringing temporary shelter, electricity generators and solar lamps. We are also distributing food, water, blankets, nappies and sanitary kits for women.

Facts and figures

What is a tsunami?

A tsunami is a giant wave. Tsunami waves can travel up to speeds of jet planes over deep waters, only slowing down when reaching shallow waters.

What causes a tsunami?

Tsunamis are caused by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions beneath the sea. As waves move closer to the shore, they become increasingly high as the ocean’s depth reduces.

What’s the Indonesian tsunami death toll?

As of Wednesday 10 October 2018, the death toll is confirmed at 2,045, and a further 5,000 people are missing. More than 70,000 people have been displaced and up to 1.5 million people have been affected.

How does it compare to the Indian Ocean tsunami 2004?

Although this tsunami is nowhere near the scale of the Indian Ocean tsunami on 26 December 2004, when nearly 250,000 people were killed, it has had a similar impact in terms of catching people unaware, destroying buildings and washing away everything in its path.

Where is Indonesia?

Indonesia is in Southeast Asia, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It has more than thirteen thousand islands, making it the world’s largest island country.

What are the worst affected areas?

The worst affected areas are: Donggala, Palu, Parigi Moutong and Sigi, according to the latest AHA Centre report.

Sulawesi Earthquake - Palu area

What is soil liquefaction?

There have been reports and footage of buildings collapsing after the Indonesia earthquake as the ground appears to slide beneath them. This is due to a phenomenon called soil liquefaction, likely caused by the earthquake. It occurs in saturated, loose soil that is suddenly shaken, causing the bond between particles to loosen. This means the soil begins to behave like a liquid, and can no longer support foundations for buildings. 


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