Indonesia: Demand for health services skyrockets across shattered Sulawesi

Palu/Geneva, 10 October 2018 – Demand for Red Cross health services in the shattered communities of Palu, Donggala and Sigi is skyrocketing as mobile health clinics reach remote areas that were affected by the 28 September earthquakes and tsunami.

More than 2,620 survivors have now been treated for injuries and sickness in the aftermath of the double disaster, with five Indonesian Red Cross mobile health clinics bringing health services to previously inaccessible communities.

Iris van Deinse, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) communications delegate in Palu, is with an Indonesian Red Cross mobile health clinic bringing treatment and support to remote communities in the disaster zone.

She said: “We are reaching more and more people every day and are expanding the mobile clinic services to meet the growing demand. More than 2,620 people have received treatment so far, not counting the many survivors who received first aid in the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes and tsunami.

 “While we’re focusing on critical care and helping people who were injured in the double disaster, we know that not all wounds are visible. The survivors will also need psychosocial support if they are to recover from the horrors they have endured, and we will be introducing these services in the coming days.”

As well as expanding its health services in the affected area, the Indonesian Red Cross operation is also distributing clean water, food, hygiene kits, mosquito nets, and shelter materials to people who have lost their homes.

The disaster zone is still being affected by aftershocks, with a 5.2 magnitude event sending survivors screaming into the streets of Palu on Tuesday. Tens of thousands of people are still sleeping outside, as their homes are too badly damaged to live in.

Government agencies report that at least 2,100 people have been killed and more than 10,600 have been injured. The double disaster has also damaged or destroyed around 67,310 homes. IFRC is appealing for 22 million Swiss francs to support 160,000 people affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi, and the series of earthquakes on the island of Lombok.