Disaster Management From Response to Resilience


Emergency Preparedness and Response

Indonesia is a disaster-prone country, suffering from recurrent shocks such as earthquakes, drought and internal conflict. By incorporating disaster risk reduction methods into our programming, CARE helps people develop sustainable methods to prepare for, respond to and reduce the impact of disasters.

CARE has extensive experience in responding to emergencies, including the 2004 Asian Tsunami, and more recently to earthquakes in Central Java and West Sumatra, volcanic eruptions in Central Java, drought in eastern Indonesia, and annual flooding in Jakarta.

We help people respond, prepare, and recover from disasters

CARE is amongst the first to arrive and the last to leave during a humanitarian crisis.

During a disaster, we coordinate with other aid agencies, governments and local organizations to meet the many immediate needs of affected people. This includes ensuring that people have enough to eat, a roof over their head, clean water and adequate hygiene supplies, and receive assistance for their sexual and reproductive health.

After the emergency phase has passed, CARE works with communities to rebuild in the long term. This includes ensuring there is permanent housing and recovery of livelihoods.

We also work with communities to help them prepare for future crises. Together we assess risks, analyse shifting weather patterns and put evacuation plans in place. Preparedness is key: it reduces risks and mitigates the magnitude of a disaster impact.

Sulawesi Earthquake Response: One Year On
More Than 60,000 People Served in Emergency Program

On September 28, 2018, the Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi was struck by a series of powerful earthquakes, topping out at 7.8 magnitude – followed by a tsunami of up to 3 meters (10 feet). At least 2,800 people lost their lives and more than 170,000 people were displaced. A year later, thousands are still living in shelters. The long process of recovery continues, as survivors struggle to regain lost livelihoods, repair damaged homes and infrastructure, restore public services including access to clean water, sanitation and education, and ensure the safety of women and children in a time of social disruption.

CARE’s Response
CARE was on the ground as soon as the quake and tsunami struck, deploying an emergency response team from our field office in Makassar with a focus on some of the hardest-to-reach areas close to the quake’s epicenter. We have maximized our impact by working with local partners and hiring local staff, benefiting from their close connections with the affected communities and their knowledge of local culture and language. In return, these responders benefit from CARE’s capacity building and support of international humanitarian standards, strengthening their abilities to respond effectively to future crises. 

Today CARE continues to deliver humanitarian assistance including construction and rehabilitation of water points. Multi-purpose cash transfers are allowing affected families to choose what they need most for their recovery – minimizing overhead costs and waste, and supporting local businesses.

Thanks to our generous donors, since the emergency hit CARE has reached over 60,454 people through the following activities:

  • 6,444 people received support from cash transfer programming (cash-for-work activities and multi-purpose cash grants);
  • 5,500 hygiene kits have been distributed, contributing to improved health and dignity of community members;
  • 6,459 people have access to gender-sensitive sanitation facilities after the rehabilitation and construction of 494 latrines;
  • 17,833 people gained access to potable water due to rehabilitation of 48 water points and distribution of 2,040 water filters, as well as water trucking and four water pumps;
  • 43,263 people participated in awareness-raising about good hygiene practices, reducing the risk of threats such as water-borne diseases; and
  • 28,471 people received shelter support, including distribution of shelter materials, household necessities and Building Back Safer sessions.

CARE is committed to standing with the people of Central Sulawesi for the years to come. Moving beyond the immediate emergency response, we are increasingly shifting our focus to helping restore livelihoods, particularly for women. Our experience in Indonesia and globally shows that the recovery phase from a disaster presents an opportunity to develop livelihood opportunities for women that help challenge structural disadvantages they have traditionally faced. Evidence shows that when women earn money entire families and communities benefit – because women dedicate the vast majority of their income to food, health and education.
Furthermore, our response takes into account the climate sensitivity of local agriculture. We are working with communities to raise awareness of and respond to climate change issues.

CARE supports the start-up of micro-, small and medium enterprises to undertake activities that contribute to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation and mitigation. CARE will distribute agricultural inputs to help create eco-farms and provide grants to food producers while providing comprehensive training to allow small farmers to enhance the value of their produce and improve marketing. Our target is to reach at least 5,400 families through this program.

“This is not a situation that can be solved overnight. It will take years to recover from this,” says Bonaria Siahaan, CEO of CARE Indonesia/YCP. “It is imperative that the government together with humanitarian and development agencies like CARE begin planning tomorrow’s permanent livelihood solutions today.”

A year after the devastation of the earthquake and tsunami, families and communities affected by the disaster are determined to recover what they have lost. CARE stands with them – and with our local partners, as we work to strengthen their capacity to create a more resilient, sustainable future for all Indonesians.

To date, CARE has received generous support from Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Samenwerkende Hulporganisaties (SHO), Dutch Relief Alliance (DRA), Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC), Aktion Deutschland Hilft (ADH), Humanitarian Coalition, GATES Foundation, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies; UNICEF and several additional public and private donors.

Natural and human caused disasters have been increasing dramatically over the past few decades, with climate change contributing to even more extreme or unpredictable weather. Degradation and loss of ecosystems intensify the hazards that, combined with the high vulnerability of poor communities, lead to increased disaster risks.

It is well established that the poorest people suffer disproportionately: lives, assets, products and crops are lost. Disasters wipe out hard-won reductions in poverty, and communities are caught in a vicious circle where poverty creates vulnerability and disasters increase poverty.

Building resilience in Indonesia

CARE build resilience into all of its activities. For example, its women entrepreneurship programs include training on preparedness should disaster strike and how to mitigate disaster risk.

CARE works closely with communities of farmers and fisherman to increase their crop and livestock yields through activities such as planting new seed varieties, animal husbandry, home gardening and irrigation, and provides education on how to preserve the environment for future generations.

CARE also leads the Partners for Resilience (PfR) in Indonesia, an alliance of five humanitarian, development, and environmental organizations working together to strengthen community resilience. PfR Indonesia is funded by the Dutch government, and is part of a global alliance of organisations working across ten countries in Asia, Africa and Central America.

PfR advocates for Integrated Risk Management (IRM) as a viable approach to address effects of climate change, strengthen ecosystem management/restoration and promote risk-proof investments and policy from the private, public sectors and multi-lateral corporations. Integrated Risk Management not only helps avert future disasters, but also unlocks growth and prosperity.

PfR supports better decision making, knowledge sharing, and policy dialogues in the context of increasing risks, to which climate change and ecosystem degradation are key contributing factors. PfR supports provision of essential services to communities for resilience against shocks from climate change, ecosystem degradation and malpractices in investments.

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)

Having access to basic clean water and a decent toilet saves lives, reduces stunting in children, and ensures a safe food supply. But CARE’s work on water isn’t just about digging wells or building toilets. We work closely with women and schools to lead their communities in promoting critical practices like hand washing. We work with government to make sure there is long-term political commitment, good policies and allocated resources for lasting improvements. And we link with wider efforts to ensure integration with nutrition, education and adaptation to climatic shocks and disasters.

CARE places emphasis on women in all of our water work. That’s because impoverished women are disproportionately excluded from decisions regarding water’s allocation and management. CARE promotes equal decision-making power for women by strengthening women’s voices to ensure they are heard in discussions on water and sanitation at the local and national levels. Access to safe water results in women spending less time caring for family members who would otherwise fall sick due to unsafe water. Also, improved sanitation can keep a girl in school by making facilities available to her when she reaches puberty.