Indonesia earthquakes and tsunami

In 2018, families were left homeless after deadly earthquakes and a tsunami struck both Lombok and Sulawesi. Read on for facts about the disasters and how we responded.

Indonesia was hit by a series of disasters in 2018.

In August, a powerful 6.9 magnitude earthquake shook the island of Lombok, turning thousands of homes into rubble. This was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks, causing landslides, power outages and further damaging of homes.

At the end of September another deadly earthquake and a tsunami devastated the island of Sulawesi.

We responded to both disasters, supporting families in Lombok with tents and shelter kits, and providing vital items like water purification kits, tents and mosquito nets in Sulawesi.

Watch this video to learn more about what happened in Sulawesi, why it triggered a tsunami and how it devasted the community in Palu.

Facts about the Indonesia Earthquakes


  • Indonesia is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which is home to 90% of the world’s earthquakes. In fact, the country experiences earthquakes greater than 6.0 magnitude almost every year.
  • In 2018 there were a total of nine significant earthquakes in Indonesia greater than 6.0 magnitude, including the quakes in Sulawesi and Lombok.
  • More than 2,100 people lost their lives after the Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami, and over 200,000 people were forced to flee their homes.
  • The 6.4 magnitude earthquake in Lombok was followed by 66 aftershocks, the highest of which had a recorded magnitude of 5.7.
  • Indonesia is also prone to other types of disasters, including tsunamis and volcanoes which are associated with the Ring of Fire. Droughts and floods are also common.

How did we help families?


We responded to the disasters in both Lombok and Sulawesi. 

In Sulawesi, we worked closely with local Rotarians and the Indonesia government to help families in remote villages that were left with nothing.

We provided tents, water filters, water carriers and mosquito nets to help families get back on their feet after the earthquake and tsunami.

Watch this video from Andre, a Response Team Member in Sulawesi, to see how we helped families in the immediate aftermath.

One month later, Jolien reports from the field to share how we were able to help families whose homes were completely destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami. 

One of the communities we helped were fisherman, who were unable to return home after the disaster because the area they lived was classed as a ‘red zone’.

Watch the video the find out more.

Recovering after the devastation

Erti's story

Erti lives with her family in a small village in Indonesia. When the 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit Sulawesi last September, 146 houses in Erti’s village were completely turned to rubble – including Erti’s home. Erti and her family were given a sturdy ShelterBox tent, which they set up on the land where their house once stood.

Our impact in Lombok


Soon after we delivered aid in Lombok, we sent another team to gather feedback from the families who received our aid.

We do this at the end of all of our responses to measure the impact that our aid has had on the livelihoods of families who need our help. The families who use our aid items are the real experts, and their feedback fuels us to be innovative and continue evolving.

In Lombok we wanted to see families returning to their homes, increased privacy, training on how to use our aid items, and reduced displacement.

Of the 67 people who received and provided feedback on our aid:

  • 91% said they have more overall privacy now
  • 94% received training from ShelterBox and 91% agreed it was extremely useful
  • 86% said the family can now sleep in one place
A woman carrying her daughter inside a tent