On September 28, 2018, Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province was struck by a series of cascading natural hazards. An afternoon of foreshocks culminated in a magnitude 7.5 earthquake that caused some of the most severe soil liquefaction observed globally. Residential neighborhoods were swallowed whole.
The seismic event triggered multiple tsunami waves, reaching Palu City within six minutes of the earthquake. In some places, the water reached nearly six meters in height, destroying low-lying homes and coastal infrastructure.
The disaster resulted in more than 4,400 deaths, 170,000 displaced people, over US$500 million in damages, and US$1.3 billion in losses – an estimated 13.7 percent of Central Sulawesi’s regional GDP. Since then, the government of Indonesia and the World Bank have partnered to rehabilitate, reconstruct, and “build back better” through the Central Sulawesi Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Project (CSRRP) and the Contingent Emergency Response Component under the National Slum Upgrading Project (CERC-NSUP)
More than three years on, we’ve learned a lot – four key lessons that apply not only to recovery in Central Sulawesi, but to post-disaster recovery elsewhere.