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Kiki, age 19, lives in the Silae district in Western Palu, Indonesia. On 28 September 2018, the area was hit by a 7.4-magnitude earthquake. Within a few minutes, the quake generated a tsunami that struck the coastal area with waves reaching up to 6 metres high.

We met Kiki 10 days after the disaster. She was sitting at the entrance of what used to be her shop, staring at the sea. Inside, her brother was busy trying to clean the floor and remove debris.

Kiki tells us her story:

“That day I had just left my house in Silae district and I was coming here, in Taman Ria area, where my family owned a small shop. It was supposed to be a special day, a happy day. Thousands of people, including high-level officials from the government, had gathered to celebrate Palunomani festival (a religious and musical festival linked to the culture of the Kaili tribe). I was about to arrive, I could hear the music and people laughing. Suddenly the earth started shaking. It all happened so fast. I saw the water coming towards us, washing people away and dragging them into the sea. In a second, everyone was gone, just gone. The houses were collapsing, taken by the water. And all of this happened…in a second. I was terrified.

“I ran away, panicking and screaming, ‘Help me! Help me!’ All around me, everyone else was doing the same: running and screaming. When it was all over, I went back to my house to look for my husband and family. The house was destroyed. I didn’t know where they were or if they had died. I couldn’t find them until the next morning when I discovered they had managed to escape and were sleeping outside in another area of the village. There were five people in my family, but one was killed during the earthquake and another one is still missing.

"In a second, everyone was gone, just gone."

“I am sad, extremely sad. I lost my courage. I lost my hope. The only two things I can think about are, will I be able to open my shop again and will all the people affected by this disaster be able to survive because we lost everything.  We lost our houses, we lost everything we had, everything. Now, we depend on the assistance we receive. Will we ever be able to rebuild our lives?”

Medair has a team of experienced emergency relief workers positioned on the island of Sulawesi, looking to begin operations in the affected areas of Central Sulawesi. The team has entered partnerships with three local nationally registered NGOs which are working in the affected area: Yayasan Menara AgungPengharapan –Indonesia (MAP), YayasanBumiTunggah (YBT), and CiptaFondasiKomunitas (CFK). Through our local partners, Medair is proposing a distribution of emergency shelter, non-food items (NFI), and hygiene items in key areas in Donggala, Sigi, and Palu districts.