This blog was updated on 2 October 2018.

Indonesia has just faced a terrifying double disaster: a powerful earthquake and then a tsunami.

A series of earthquakes rocked the province of Central Sulawesi, with the strongest being 7.7 magnitude.

Its epicentre was near the city of Dongala, home to around 300,000 people. That’s roughly the same as the number of people who live in Nottingham in the UK.

At least 1,234 people are known to have died and at least 799 people have been hurt. More than 6,000 houses have been destroyed and over 600,000 people across the province could be affected.

A city street full of the rubble of buildings destroyed by the Indonesia earthquake and tsunami

Devastation caused by the Indonesia earthquake and tsunami © Indonesian Red Cross

Many of those killed were from the city of Palu, where the earthquake and tsunami also destroyed scores of buildings. People are still being rescued from collapsed homes and shops.

We have not yet discovered the full extent of the damage so the final death toll may reach into the thousands.

Damage to power systems, communication channels, roads and the main airport made it hard to reach and assess the area affected. But it is becoming clear that the destruction is widespread.

Indonesian Red Cross is already on the ground

More than 90 Indonesian Red Cross volunteers and staff were on the ground immediately.

Their first priorities are search and rescue, medical support and distributing emergency relief supplies. They are also comforting terrified survivors and have set up an emergency kitchen to provide meals to people who had to leave their homes.

Hundreds of villagers have joined the Red Cross, and Indonesia’s police, armed forces and local government agencies to rescue survivors.

First emergency relief supplies have reached the disaster zone

Red Cross volunteers and other people stand near dozens of buckets ready to be filled with clean water after the Indonesia earthquake and tsunami

The Indonesian Red Cross distributes buckets for clean water, © Indonesian Red Cross

The Red Cross trucked in supplies to the area straightaway. These include tarpaulins, blankets, sleeping mats and clothing to support people who had to leave their homes.

Three water trucks were sent to the area because local water supplies were damaged, along with 500 clean water containers.

Five ambulances helped Red Cross volunteers and staff carry out first aid and take injured people to hospital.

More kit on its way by air and sea

Tanker trucks from the Indonesia Red Cross travel in convoy to reach the area affected by the earthquake and tsunami

Indonesia Red Cross water trucks, © Indonesian Red Cross

Since so much of the area is cut off by road, the Red Cross also sent supplies by air and sea. More trucks have also set off.

Supplies have started to reach the area most affected by the earthquake and tsunami and more will arrive over the next few days.

These include:

  • 3,650 blankets
  • 1,690 sleeping mats
  • 1,900 hygiene kits with essentials like soap and toothbrushes
  • 1,800 sarongs (traditional clothes)
  • 1,660 tarpaulins for shelter and waterproof barriers

Three medical teams, and a surgical team and their equipment, are also on their way.

Worried about missing family members?

Sadly, the earthquake and tsunami caused many people to become separated from their family members.

If you are concerned about missing relatives in the affected areas, please contact your local British Red Cross international family tracing service office.

Help us to help more people

Children walk and lie under a makeshift shelter next to the runis of a building after the Indonesia earthquake and tsunami

A family after the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, © Bay Ismoyo/Getty Images

The Red Cross is well placed to help in Indonesia, with a network of volunteers in Sulawesi and around the country. Around 200 volunteers are working in the affected areas already.

But thousands of families are in desperate need of food, water, shelter and medical treatment. Funds donated now will help families who have lost everything.

Unfortunately, disasters can strike anywhere and without warning. Please give to the British Red Cross Disaster Fund so we start helping immediately.