Quake further isolates remote Indonesian villages

Damaged buildings and other infrastructure in the aftermath of the earthquake that hit Banda Aceh, Indonesia on December 2004. A 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Palu on Sulawesi Island on August 18. Photo by: Australian Civil Military Centre / CC BY

Helicopter drops remain the only means of delivering aid to remote Indonesian villages affected by an earthquake that left at least six people dead.

On Saturday, Aug. 18, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck southeast of the city of Palu on Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island. Among the most affected areas are remote rural villages, including those located inside the Lore Lindu National Park – which does not have roads. Other villages are similarly isolated because of the buildup of debris from landslides triggered by the quake.

While waiting for road-clearing operations to be completed, Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency has deployed helicopters to drop food and water to the affected villages. The Indonesian Red Cross has also commissioned a helicopter to deliver aid and evacuate victims.

Aside from the reported deaths, the earthquake left 43 people wounded and destroyed more than 1,000 houses, places of worship, schools and government buildings.

Indonesia, which lies on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, is an earthquake-prone country. Just this April, an 8.6-magnitude earthquake rocked Northern Sumatra and prompted a tsunami warning across the Pacific. And in 2004, Indonesia was hit by a 9.1-magnitude earthquake that caused devastating tsunamis across the Indian Ocean. Known as the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, the twin disasters claimed at least 230,000 lives and prompted an outpour of aid to South and Southeast Asian countries.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.