Eight-year-old Melanie*, pictured below, was asleep in her bed when her mother woke her. In a matter of seconds, they were both sprinting for their lives to escape the five-metre-high waves that, moments later, would destroy their home.

Melanie*, eight, had to run for her life from the waves that destroyed her home. Melanie*, eight, had to run for her life from the waves that destroyed her home.

Last December, the Sunda Strait tsunami in Indonesia killed over 400 people and injured thousands more. Families lost everything, leaving them in desperate need of food, shelter, clean water and medical care.

£100,000 from our Emergency Fund allowed us to take action right away – providing a lifeline to at-risk children.

Within days of the disaster striking, we were on the ground distributing lifesaving aid to families who had lost their homes. With the region’s water systems shattered, we trucked in safe drinking water. As burst sewage systems contaminated the streets and the threat of disease loomed, we urgently set up temporary toilets and bathing facilities. We distributed hygiene essentials like soap, washing detergent, toothbrushes and feminine hygiene products.

Many children saw their homes and even their loved ones washed away, leaving them dazed, grief-stricken and traumatised. We set up eight child-friendly spaces – protected areas where children can get the expert psychological support they need to recover from their terrible experiences.

The Sunda Strait tsunami was just one of a string of disasters that hit Indonesia in 2018. It was country’s deadliest year in over a decade.

Our Emergency Fund helped Indonesia’s most disaster-prone communities to set up early warning systems, create evacuation plans and develop flood-resistant crops, to prepare for when the next emergency hits.


*name changed to protect identity