Disaster response Indonesia

Lombok Earthquake

Published on Aug 21, 2018 02:20 PM  -  Updated on Jun 25, 2020 12:14 PM
In response to the series of earthquakes that struck Indonesia between 28th July and 19th August 2018, TSF supported the affected population on Lombok Island.

Context : Earthquake
Start date : 06/08/2018
End date : 19/09/2018

Areas of intervention : Lombok Island

  • Gangga Sub-disctrict

Activities :

  • Telecoms assessment
  • Humanitarian calling operations
  • Connectivity for medical coordination

3 villages covered
1 medical NGO supported


A first 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Lombok Island, east of Bali, on July 29th, killing 17 people and doing relatively little collateral damage. But after that, a series of aftershocks hit even stronger: Between August 5th and 20th, 4 major shocks knocked down the few remaining buildings and severely damaged infrastructure in the northern half of Lombok Island. The population, terrorized, take refuge in tents. The death toll continues to rise, with the latest report claiming nearly 450 dead and more than 1,000 wounded and 400,000 displaced.


Less than 24 hours after the earthquake of 5th August, Télécoms Sans Frontières was deploying teams from its headquarters in France and its regional base in Thailand. They arrived in Lombok on August 7th with the necessary satellite technologies to restore emergency communications in a context of total destruction in the north of the island.

TSF immediately reached out to the NGO Airputih. Together they helped the most affected communities to contact their relatives locally or abroad.

Telecoms assessment

In consequences of the earthquake, communications were unstable or even completely cut off. The power grid was also damaged in the Lombok Utara region, north of the island. These two services, complementary, no longer allowed isolated populations in the valleys and mountains to communicate, or recharge the battery of their phones.

Mobile Calling Operations

With its long-time local partner, the NGO Airputih, mobile calling operations were conducted in the most remote villages. In the absence of internet, alternatives such as Facebook or WhatsApp could not be used and despite a partial recovery of mobile networks, it remained difficult to call abroad because of the high blow of communications. Hence, the few calls made abroad were essential for local people to establish a report on the community needs and to seek financial assistance.

Connectivity for a medical coordination center

A field medical center with a consultation and operating rooms was set up by the NGO KUN Humanity System + to provide emergency first aid to earthquake victims.

The medical team of the center, consisting of 3 doctors, a logistician and an ambulance driver, carried out itinerant operations in the Gangga sub-district area. This area is inhabited by more than 14,500 people and is relatively extensive, forested and difficult to access. Because of its isolation, this first care evaluation was necessary before any referral to a hospital. One of the needs of the clinic was therefore to be able to transmit its reports to the Ministry of Health. This communication with the Authorities is crucial to allow the consolidation of data at the island level.

Finally, this center also served as coordination point for various local NGOs.

Given the criticality of such a service, TSF teams wanted to help in order to improve the quality of medical interventions. They provided the necessary materials for high-speed Internet access and trained Airputih teams to deploy it. Hence, the center was able to benefit from a reliable connection for its medical coordination activities.