Sumatra earthquake 2009

A devastating 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit the Indonesian island of Sumatra in September 2009, killing at least 1,000 people and affecting more than 1 million people.

Oxfam water tanks ready to be filled in Padangalai, Sumatra. Photo: Roysepta Abimanyu/Oxfam

Oxfam water tanks ready to be filled in Padangalai, Sumatra. Photo: Roysepta Abimanyu/Oxfam

Homes, schools, bridges and roads were destroyed by the earthquake. Some of the most serious damage was in the villages to the north of Padang city where 80–90 per cent of houses were damaged.

Oxfam's response

Oxfam delivered clean water and shelter to the most vulnerable people and helped people to clean their wells and collect rainwater. We also distributed over 40,000 tarpaulins plus tool-kits and clothes.

Oxfam also provided cash grants to help people start rebuilding their damaged or destroyed homes. While many people said the cash grant did not cover all the expenses on reconstruction and households, they said it was “very precious startup money”, enabling them to move on and start rebuilding their lives.

We continued working with local partners and authorities to help improve preparations for future disasters. Thankfully we began this work before the earthquake, so we already had local people in place who could start handing out emergency supplies like tarpaulins as soon as the earthquake hit. We believe there is room for even better preparedness – particularly in a region that is so disaster prone.

Latest news

Sumatra earthquake: Oxfam emergency stocks of aid ready for distribution

September 30, 2009

Oxfam-funded local organisations in West Sumatra are on aid missions in the earthquake-hit area ready to distribute 2,400 sheets of tarpaulins for emergency shelter, hygiene kits and clothing said the international agency today.

You can help with future emergencies

Oxfam aims to respond immediately to humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters, but we can only do this if we have funds ready when they are needed. You can help: