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The largest economy in Southeast Asia, Indonesia hosts a large population while remaining vulnerable to climate-induced disasters. Home to around 130 active volcanoes and vulnerable to climate change, the region is extremely prone to natural disasters including earthquakes, flash floods, landslides, and volcanic eruptions. Our teams have worked to provide emergency relief for families in need across Indonesia, in addition to seasonal and sustainable support to reduce the effects of long-term poverty.

As the world’s fourth most populated country and with soaring levels of poverty, many communities remain incredibly vulnerable – especially in times of disaster. An economic crisis throughout Indonesia in 1998 resulted in mass unemployment, with entire families suffering. Over the last ten years, Indonesia has since witnessed extensive economic growth. However, with ongoing high levels of poverty, 19.4 million people cannot meet their nutritional needs. This is particularly true in rural areas, where 14.3% of people are living below the poverty line.

With high food prices, insecure access to food and the constant threat of natural disasters, many families long for financial security and stability. Lacking sufficient access to clean water and sanitation, diseases such as avian flu and dengue fever, carried by mosquitos, also spread quickly.

Islamic Relief staff member observing food products.
Image: Islamic Relief aid worker quality testing food products for Ramadan food packages.

The situation in Indonesia

Soaring levels of poverty and climate-induced natural disasters have had a devastating effect on many communities in Indonesia.

1 in 4 women

of reproductive age are anaemic (UN World Food Programme, 2017)


of children under the age of 5 suffer from stunting (UN World Food Programme, 2017)


of the population rely upon agriculture for a living (UN Statistics Division, 2017)

23 in 1, 000

babies will die before they reach their 1st birthday (Asian Development Bank, 2015)

Islamic Relief in Indonesia

Islamic Relief Indonesia was first set up in 2000 by Haroon Kash, Dr Ede Surya Darmawan, and other Islamic Relief colleagues, in response to the country’s economic crisis, which started in 1998. 

Islamic Relief Indonesia has responded to many emergencies, most notably the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami emergency of 2004. Our extensive response included recovery and repair projects, some of which were funded by the United Nations. In 2010 the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, gave us an award in recognition of the positive impact we made in the wake of the disaster.

In 2005 Islamic Relief started register orphans in Banda Aceh City, Aceh Besar District, West Aceh District, and Aceh Jaya District. From this, we developed the one-to-one orphan sponsorship programme which currently supports 620 orphaned children.

When earthquakes hit in 2006 and 2009, we responded within a matter of hours, distributing emergency supplies. We rebuilt the Lhong Raya hospital and Suak Pandan Elementary School, and installed bamboo pipe water systems within local communities.

When the 2014 tsunami hit, we responded the next day, distributing food, medicine, tents and hygiene supplies. We continued to reconstruct housing as well as other critical public buildings. Islamic Relief have also been working to provide access to healthcare, education, clean water, climate resilience and livelihood support through vocational training and supporting local businesses. 

Our very first water, sanitation and hygiene programme was in 2004, where we built latrines and a well in a school in Serang City. Currently we have 3 major climate change projects funded by Islamic Relief USA and Islamic Relief Canada, with total funding $3.3 million.

Our fundraising

Islamic Relief Indonesia’s priority areas for fundraising are orphan sponsorship programmes, now expanding into Cianjur, Jakarta, and Makasar; poverty alleviation; restoring and conserving the environment; and supporting communities to be climate resilient in line with our Climate Change strategy. 

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