Media Center Catholic Relief Services Responding to Devastating Earthquake and Tsunami in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

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Kim Pozniak

Catholic Relief Services

(571) 263-1193 (cell)
[email protected]

Catholic Relief Services Responding to Devastating Earthquake and Tsunami in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

BALTIMORE, MD, September 29, 2018 – Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is responding to an earthquake that struck Friday night just off the coast of Donggala in central Sulawesi, Indonesia. The 7.5 magnitude quake triggered an unexpected tsunami, which hit the city of Palu, destroying homes and businesses in its path. While the scope of destruction is unclear, initial government reports indicate a death toll of 400 as of Saturday evening, but communications are down, and emergency teams have not reached all affected areas.

“The images coming out of Palu are horrifying and bring back memories of the devastation caused by the region’s 2004 earthquake and tsunami. One of the lessons we learned from that disaster is that it will take time to learn the full scope of the destruction,” said Yenni Suryani, CRS’ country manager in Indonesia. “The government is to be commended for their immediate response and the work they are doing to get information out quickly. Knowing that time is of the essence, our partners are racing to overcome extreme logistical challenges to get to the scene as fast as possible.”

Suryani added that with the airport damaged, getting access to Palu and Donggala has been problematic.

“Responders and local aid groups are having to drive overland 10-12 hours. That means a bottleneck for relief supplies in coming days,” she said. “Those long hours on the road are going to mean hours lost getting assistance to people who need it in the next few days. Another option in coming days will be sea routes. The Ministry of Transportation is sending in relief by ship from North Sulawesi.”

CRS’ local partners Caritas Makassar and Muhammadiyah Disaster Management Center (MDMC) are en route to Donggala and Palu in Sulawesi.

About the tsunami, Suryani said, “I’m worried about people who might have been washed away. Several mosques, a shopping mall, and many houses have collapsed. The impact is significant, and as soon as our local partners reach affected areas and establish communication, we’ll know more about the extent of the destruction and people’s most urgent needs.”

For updates on the response to the earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi, Indonesia, go to

*If you would like to schedule an interview with a CRS spokesperson in Jakarta, please contact Kim Pozniak at [email protected]. Our spokesperson will be available until noon EST. Otherwise, US-based spokespeople will be available until Asia comes back online later today. 


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding.  For more information, visit or and follow Catholic Relief Services on social mediaFacebookTwitterat @CatholicRelief, @CRSnews and @CRSnoticiasInstagramPinterest and YouTube.


Journalists & editors:

For photos, audio clips, video material & b-roll, contact: Kim Pozniak at [email protected] or 571-263-1193.


Kim Pozniak

Director of Communications

Kim Pozniak
September 29, 2018

Based in Baltimore, MD

As the Director of Communications, Kim oversees the communications and social media teams working with journalists and the media to connect them with engaging stories about relief and development programs that are making a tangible difference in people’s lives around the world.

Her previous work at CRS includes handling emergency...More