If you would like to donate to Caritas’s appeal for tsunami victims, use the link at the end of this story

Four days after a tsunami, described by locals as a ‘wall of water,’ rolled over parts of Western Indonesia, tCaritas Australia is on the ground responding with emergency assistance.

The tsunami hit the coast of the Sunda Strait of Indonesia on the evening of 22 December 2018.

The districts of Pandeglang, Serang and South Lampung suffered the most damage.

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Indonesian tsunamis are commonly triggered by earthquakes, making the impact of water caused by the eruption of the nearby Anak Krakatau volcano, particularly unexpected.

Death toll

As of 27 December, the tsunami has left more than 470 people dead, 1,459 injured, 128 missing, and 5,665 displaced. An estimated 681 houses, 68 hotels, buildings and other infrastructure have sustained severe damage.

“We are concerned that emergency teams have not yet reached all impacted areas, where there are no communications, and so even the full extent of the damage and lives lost isn’t yet known,” said Caritas Australia’s Richard Forsythe.

Yanti Maulida, from the Research and Development department of Las Harfa, a Caritas Australia partner based in Pandeglang, Indonesia, spoke of the challenge of entering remote and affected communities.

“It’s difficult to enter the region because it’s quite far from any main roads, and roads themselves are damaged,” Ms Maulida says.

“We will make our best efforts to reach the victims. With our partners, like Caritas Australia, our disaster management response is stronger and this allows us to handle it together.”

With local partners like Las Harfa and CRS (Catholic Relief Services), Caritas is working with organisations like the Franciscan Mission Hospital of Lebak and the Archdiocese of Jakarta.

The partnership has already successfully delivered 1700 ready to eat food packs to affected communities.

Caritas and its partners are carrying out an emergency needs assessment, but the most pressing requirements at this time remain drinking water, medicines, food, and tents.

Support can be given to Caritas Australia’s work with tsunami survivors in Indonesia at www.caritas.org.au/asia