13 March 2024 - Indonesia

INDONESIA: Floods force more than 15,000 children from their homes in Sumatra as Indonesia battles second climate crisis in a month

Stack of hygiene boxes for residents affected by the floods in Demak.

Stack of hygiene kit boxes for residents affected by the flooding in Demak. February 19, 2024. Photo credit: Abid Amirullah / Save the Children


JAKARTA, 13 March 2024 – Flooding and landslides on the Indonesian island of Sumatra have affected about 15,500 children and 40,000 families, in the second major flooding disaster in Indonesia in a month, highlighting Indonesia’s vulnerability to climate change impacts, including extreme events such as droughts and floods, Save the Children said. 

About 40,000 families1 have been affected, including about 15,500 children,2 as more rain is expected in the coming days.  

At least 263 people have been killed on Sumatra with more than 11 still missing and about 77,0004 people have been evacuated following floods and landslides caused by torrential rain, leaving families and children in need of essential humanitarian aid. 

Heavy rain since last week triggered floods and landslides with 12 out of 19 districts in West Sumatra affected. 

This follows flooding last month in Central Java, about 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) away, that displaced about 11,500 people. Coastal areas in many parts of Indonesia are being threatened by rising sea levels caused by climate change, putting people in the world’s fourth-most-populous country at risk.

Indonesia’s monsoon season typically occurs between November and March, causing flash floods and landslides in the archipelago which consists of more than 17,000 islands.

However, the country’s national disaster agency has said that more than 90 % of the country’s natural disasters over the past decade have been exacerbated by climate change.5  

Indonesia’s sizable coastal population that lives in low lying areas are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of flooding and rising sea levels and Indonesia ranks in the top third of countries in the world6 that are most at risk to climate hazards including heatwaves, flooding, and droughts.  

Dozens of bridges, roads, houses, and schools in West Sumatra province have been damaged, hampering rescue operations this week.  

Save the Children Indonesia, together with local partner Yayasan Jamari Sakato, is sending supplies to affected locations including food, clean water, shelter kits, hygiene kits, clothes, bedding and medicine.  

Fadli Usman, Humanitarian Director at Save the Children in Indonesia, said:   

“Children are already bearing the brunt of the climate crisis and the extreme weather that it brings. We need to see urgent action now in Indonesia and around the world to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Failing to do this will see dramatic consequences for children’s health, safety, & wellbeing. Our team is now preparing assistance to meet the basic needs of children, such as temporary shelter and food and medical treatment but we know that we need longer term solutions to avoid more disasters like this." 

Jemari Sakato is a local humanitarian organization based in West Sumatra, dedicated to promoting community participation and governance. Jemari Sakato is one of Save the Children Indonesia’s humanitarian action partners and helps to address the evolving needs of the children and community since 2022. 



1 Based on information from the BNPB Operations Control Center (PUSDALOPS) affected population. 

2 https://www.unicef.org/indonesia/sites/unicef.org.indonesia/files/2019-05/West_Sumatra_ProvincialBrief.pdf 

3 National Disaster Management Agency's Operations Control Center (Pusdalops BNPB). 

4 National Agency for Disaster Countermeasure: https://www.bnpb.go.id/berita/update-banjir-dan-longsor-di-sumbar-19-orang-meninggal-dan-7-orang-hilang 

5 https://news.climate.columbia.edu/tag/indonesia/ 

6 https://drmkc.jrc.ec.europa.eu/inform-index/INFORM-Risk 


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