Erti was at home with her husband Jonathan, their two children, and two-year-old granddaughter Felicia
when the 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck central Sulawesi on September, 28 2018. The family live in a
small village called Puroo, about 60 kilometres from Palu. In the village, 146 houses were totally destroyed
by the earthquake, including their own.
At around 6pm when the earthquake hit, Erti was washing in the bathroom. “I was in the shower, there
was no time to get dressed, so I just ran”, she said. Her only exit out of the house was through the
bathroom wall which collapsed in front of her. Fortunately, a neighbour saw her and quickly covered her
with a blanket, and she was later given some clothes. On her way out, Erti broke a rib, she was treated
soon after by a local doctor.
Erti said her first thought was about her family who were sitting outside at the time, “I was panicking. As
soon as I got out I tried to find my daughter and granddaughter”. She found them with Jonathan who
had also made it outside to the roadside next to their house. That night the family slept outside a nearby
school with the rest of the community. Everyone had come together and made emergency shelter out of
tarpaulin. “We had nothing, only what we were wearing”, she said.
They stayed in the emergency shelter for one month until they were given a ShelterBox tent which they
could put on the land where their house once stood. “The tent is very helpful, we feel safe inside”, she
said smiling. “We are healing, life is slowly getting better, but we are still frightened because there are more earthquakes [aftershocks]”. She told us that there are at least two aftershocks every day.
When asked about the next steps for the family, Erti’s husband Jonathon said they were unsure what will
happen. “We have no idea, it could take up to ten months to fix the house, we might move. We are just
focusing on the now”, he explained.
ShelterBox was able to reach the family with help from the Indonesian Disaster Management Agency,
also known as the BNPB, and partner Rotary. The BNPB not only supported ShelterBox, they provided a
helicopter to transport 200 ShelterBox tents, mosquito nets, water filters, and water carriers to Puroo and
neighbouring villages in the Lindu region of central Sulawesi.