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Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami Relief

   Oct 01, 2018

CharityWatch announces a list of highly efficient and accountable charities involved in efforts to provide emergency relief and humanitarian assistance to earthquake victims in Indonesia.

Posted October 1, 2018

Twin disasters rocked the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on September 28th. A 7.5-magnitude earthquake set off the massive tsunami that slammed into the beaches of Palu and Donggala. As of Monday night, the death toll reached over 1,200 people and is expected to continue to climb as rescuers dig through rubble and reach inaccessible areas.

Officials shared disturbing footage of buildings being dragged and engulfed in mud and debris during the phenomenon of “liquefaction,” in which weakened soil turns into flowing liquid akin to quicksand. Thousands of homes, hotels, shopping centers, hospitals, and other public facilities were damaged. Relief efforts are underway as international aid agencies navigate badly damaged roads and landslide-prone areas. Clean drinking water is an immediate need for the people of Palu, where the water supply has turned turbid.

Indonesia is located in the “Ring of Fire”, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin, making it prone to earthquakes. The spokesman for Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency blamed the rising death toll on lack of warnings and “limited shelter and spatial planning.” The full extent of the damage from this earthquake, tsunami and aftershocks is not yet known.

Posted August 9, 2018

The Indonesian island of Lombok has been shaken by three massive earthquakes in more than a week. The first, a 6.4 magnitude quake, struck on July 29th, and the second more deadly 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit the island on August 5th. The third quake struck the island on August 9th and was the biggest aftershock of the 355 felt so far, measuring 5.9 in magnitude according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Thousands of homes have been damaged or completely destroyed, and more than 150,000 people are homeless. The official death toll, which is expected to rise, is currently estimated at over 300 people.

Indonesia is located in the “Ring of Fire”, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin, making it prone to earthquakes. Relief efforts are underway, and aid has started to reach victims in the worst-hit parts of the island. The full extent of the damage from these earthquakes and possible aftershocks, however, will take several days to become known.

The Related Charities listed below perform favorably in relation to CharityWatch benchmarks:

1)  A charity should spend at least 75% of its budget on program services.
2)  A charity should spend no more than $25 to raise $100.

Contact your favorite charities to find out if they provide the specific types of aid that you would like to fund, e.g., emergency shelters, food and water, health care, psychological trauma counseling, rebuilding efforts, etc.


As with any charitable contribution, Americans wanting to help with disaster relief efforts should only give to legitimate charities with an established track record of helping people in need.

  • Be on guard for a surge of solicitations related to any highly publicized crisis. There will be fraudulent charity solicitations, some involving websites and email links attempting to steal your credit card information for identity theft or insert malware on your computer.
  • Do not respond to, or click on any attachments, links or pictures included in, emails or text messages received from unknown senders.
  • Social media will include many fake victims. Do not donate to unknown individuals purporting to need aid that post on Facebook, GoFundMe, etc. These may be fraudsters, and even if they are legitimate victims, they may receive an unfairly large amount of aid.
  • Scammers may try to use copy-cat names similar to those of well-known charities. Avoid name confusion by independently verifying that the charity is legitimate before you donate. Reputable charities will not pressure you to give immediately.
  • Beware of individuals or others claiming to be third party intermediaries for charities or those in need. It is best to give directly only to the charities that you are confident are legitimate and recognized for providing disaster or humanitarian relief.


The best way to help is by sending a check or donating securely by credit card. Such cash donations enable charities to buy the most needed types of food, medicine, clothing, shelter materials, and other supplies. By buying relief products locally or regionally, charities can reduce shipping costs and more rapidly deliver assistance. Before sending any goods, first contact the charity to find out if they are appropriate and if it will be cost effective to distribute them. For example, after a tsunami in the Pacific, boxes of donated winter coats, scarves and fuzzy hats, completely useless items in tsunami-stricken nations with tropical climates, were sent.

CharityWatch identifies the following Top-Rated charities, which are providing relief to Indonesian earthquake victims and receive an “A” or “B+” grade based on the portion of their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency. Top-Rated charities also must meet CharityWatch's Governance and Transparency benchmarks. Contact the organizations below for information on specific relief operations now underway.

Related Charities