Donate to the victims of Indonesia’s devastating tsunami-earthquake through these trustworthy charities [UPDATED]

Rescue workers including those from Red Cross Indonesia (PMI) look for survivors amid the wreckage caused by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Central Sulawesi on Friday, Sept 28, 2018. Photo: Red Cross Indonesia
Rescue workers including those from Red Cross Indonesia (PMI) look for survivors amid the wreckage caused by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Central Sulawesi on Friday, Sept 28, 2018. Photo: Red Cross Indonesia

[Updated October 4, 2018] The cities of Palu and Donggala in Central Sulawesi, as well as the surrounding areas, were hammered by both a massive 7.5 earthquake and a 3-meter tall tsunami that struck on Friday, September 28. The true scope of the devastation caused by these twin disasters is still being assessed but the numbers are as staggering as the tragedy is heartbreaking. The latest official death toll is over 1,400, more than 300,000 people are thought to be homeless and up to 2 million might be in urgent need of assistance, including many young children.

Here we’ve put together a list of trustworthy charities that are working to get medical aid, supplies and assistance to those who need it most. Many are international organizations that are already on the ground or working with local partners to meet a whole host of different survivor needs, both short-term and long-term. Most accept credit cards. If you know of any more that you think we should add to this list. please email us at




International aid group CARE is focusing its response mainly in the Donggala area, north of Palu city, which is a more difficult area to reach as it was closest to the quake’s epicenter and thus less likely to receive needed assistance.

“Our goal is to get to those survivors to provide life-saving drinking water, shelter and proper sanitation,” explained Helen Vanwel, CARE’s country director in Indonesia.

In addition to their emergency response team, CARE will also be focusing on the specific impacts on women and girls, who are often disproportionately affected in natural disasters of this type and are at increased risk of many types of sexual and gender-based violence. Their voices are often also the least heard when it comes to emergency needs.  In the first stage of the response, they will distribute kits targeted at women and girls that include sarongs and sanitary towels among other items.

Emergency family shelter kits including items such as such as tarpaulins sleeping mats, blankets and solar light, will be provided to those who have lost their homes to allow them to survive while the long process of rebuilding begins.

Donation link


Global Giving

An organization that funnels donations to local organizations, Global Giving has already raised over $175,000 of its $1 million goal to help people in Central Sulawesi. In addition to providing funds to local charities working to provide basic needs like food, water, and medicine, they are also supporting organizations that will provide longer-term recovery assistance to residents.” They have a four-star, 96 rating on Charity Navigator for their transparency and effectiveness.

Donation link


Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a global humanitarian aid organization that already has teams on the ground to respond to the immediate needs of survivors and to provide emergency supplies like clean water, food and basic hygiene kits.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mercy Corps team member Arianto said: “The situation in Palu remains grave. Food and water is scarce and many of the people I have spoken with haven’t eaten in days — and that is the situation in Palu, a city which is receiving support. People at the epicentre of the quake are still largely cut-off from the aid effort.”

Donation link


Water Mission

An NGO that specializes in water access and treatment, they are rushing water treatment supplies to Sulawesi to help ensure that survivors have access to clean drinking water.

Donation link


Humanity and Inclusion,

A U.S. non-profit that promotes disability rights, Humanity and Inclusion is taking donations for both basic aid and long-term rehabilitation care for survivors in Sulawesi with serious injuries and disabilities.

Donation link


Oxfam International

The international NGO works with 16 civil society organizations in Indonesia, strengthening the capacity of their alliance to efficiently respond to and manage disaster risk as they did with the Lombok earthquake in July. Most recently they said that they would be scaling up their efforts to try and reach as many as 500,000 people.

Donation link


Save the Children

Save the Children and its local partner in Indonesia,  Yayasan Sayangi Tunas Cilik (YSTC) are working to get humanitarian assistance to the some 46,000 children Indonesia’s disaster agency say are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

Child Protection Adviser Zubedy Koteng, in Palu at the epicentre of the crisis, said in a statement,“I’m particularly worried about children who’ve been separated from their families or are now orphans because their parents have lost their lives in this tragedy. Many of these children are sleeping on the streets because they simply have nowhere to go. It’s hard to imagine a more frightening situation for a child.”

The aid agency and YSTC has a team of staff on the ground in Palu preparing to distribute aid, including shelter kits and hygiene items. They are also as setting up child friendly spaces, which provide a safe space for children to play.

They are also working to establish family tracing and reunification procedures with other agencies to help reunite children with their families, as well as to establish child protection systems and reporting mechanisms to keep children safe.

Donation link



Kopernik is a non-profit organization headquartered in Indonesia that is a registered 501(c) organization in the US. They focus on finding innovative solutions to poverty and disaster relief.

They are working with their trusted local partners in Central Sulawesi to distribute solar lights and phone chargers, Nazava XL water filters, as well as food and non-food items, and emergency and shelter kits consisting of items that are responding to the evolving needs on the ground.

Donation link


Red Cross Indonesia

The Indonesian Red Cross has already deployed experts in search and rescue, medical teams, ambulances and water trucks, and has dispatched emergency relief items such as tarpaulins, blankets, jerry cans, sarongs and sleeping mats.

In addition, the Red Cross is working to help families and loved ones who are looking to find each other in the disaster area get the word out and reconnect.

Donation link



UNICEF is working closely with the Indonesian government to bring help and lifesaving supplies to children and families. They are focusing their efforts on reuniting children with their families, feeding the youngest and most vulnerable, providing clean water through the deployment of several mobile water treatment plant units to the affected areas and providing mental support to children in the disaster zones.

Donation link


World Vision

World Vision has pre-positioned relief supplies in Palu, the Central Sulawesi capital, which includes hygiene supplies and kits for families and children. The international NGO will focus its disaster response on food, shelter, nutrition, child protection, water and sanitation. They already have several projects in Central Sulawesi province serving more than 5,000 sponsored children.

Donation link


For more local donation options, please check out this article by the Jakarta Post “How you can help Palu earthquake victims”


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