FEBC Indonesia has joined forces with First Response Radio in response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami damage in Indonesia. The teams have gathered supplies and are on their way to Palu, the capital city on the island of Sulawesi where most of the damage occurred.
On Friday, September 28, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Donggala province of central Sulawesi, which in turn triggered a tsunami that obliterated Palu. Reports made on October 3rd indicated that over 1,200 people have been reported dead—a number that is sure to have risen by now.
First Response Radio (FRR) is an organization focused on preparing first responders to use the power of radio to get survivors the immediate help they need after natural disasters. First Response has been working in many Asian countries over the past six years, equipping them to use their “radio in a suitcase” technology to set up broadcasting centers where they can transmit messages about where to find food, water and medical attention, available transport routes, and if any further risks still exist. They also involve themselves in helping survivors locate and reconnect with their loved ones.
Though the official emergency response period ended on October 11, leading many organizations to scale back their efforts, FRR and FEBC are still deep in the midst of Palu’s devastation.
FEBC and FRR’s emergency response plan has included dispatching a team, gathering supplies and coordinating with other relief organizations and government agencies, distributing an average of 2,000 radios to affected communities surrounding Palu and remaining on air as much as possible to broadcast desperately needed information.
Recently, First Response Radio team members visited affected villages furthest from Palu to distribute and set up solar radios. This has allowed families furthest from the city center to tune into broadcasts for important information and reassurance.
Sharing about the importance of FRR’s efforts on our Facebook page, FEBC New Zealand wrote, “Clear, practical broadcasting of timely information encourages people and builds resilience.”
During the team’s first night in the devastated city, the team’s leader, Jose, took time to reflect on his surroundings. “We looked up at the sky as we began our first night of sleep in the grieving city of Palu,” he said. “The sky looked a little bright, although there was still a cloud. Hopefully this is a good sign. Although there is a cloud of sorrow in this city, there is still a light of hope. We pray that this situation will soon pass and the lives of people can run normally again.”
We invite you to join FEBC Indonesia and First Response Radio by praying for the situation in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Please pray for the wounded, traumatized, homeless and afraid—that they would be found, healed and comforted. Pray also for food, water and fuel supplies to be available, especially in these first weeks of rescue and recovery. Pray for safety from harm, both from further natural disasters and from humans. Pray for our wind-up/solar radios to get into communities and have strong signals to deliver critical information.