Rizky* (7), who was separated from his family in a tsunami, is reunited with his father and grandmother

One of the lucky ones: reuniting Rizky* with his family

Throughout the terrible suffering caused by the Indonesian earthquake and tsunami which tore through Palu, Central Sulawesi, stories of hope shine through.

One such story is that of Rizky* (7) who was separated from his family after the destruction. He was found in the ruins of his previous family home by some university students, who kindly took him home and registered him with the local ministry of social services.

Bringing families back together

So many children have been separated from their families, not knowing whether those closest to them were living or dead. Save the Children, through its local partner YSTC, has been working alongside the Indonesian government and other aid agencies in the massive recovery operation, with one of our main priorities being to bring these families back together again, wherever possible.

One of the lucky ones

After a heartbreaking two weeks watching the death toll rise and wondering if he would ever see his beloved family again, Rizky got the news he had been wishing for. Through the family tracing and reunification work conducted by Save the Children’s local partner, in collaboration with the ministry of social services and UNICEF, Rizky’s father and grandmother had been identified.


Rizky* (7), who was separated from his family in a tsunami, is reunited with his father and grandmother - credit: Ardiles Rante / Save the Children
Rizky* and his father embrace after two weeks apart

Reunification at last

As he waited eagerly for a first glimpse of his family, Rizky* (7) was comforted by Aduma Situmorang, who works with Save the Children’s partner in Indonesia. Finally, the time where he could embrace his father and grandmother came; an incredibly moving moment for all who had been a part of their reunification.

What next in Indonesia?

As well as attempting to reunite as many children as possible with their families, the YSTC is scaling up operations significantly to ensure that vulnerable children have their needs addressed and are protected from further harm as the recovery continues.

Along with distributions, the agency is planning to build temporary latrines for people displaced by the disaster, and will soon deploy health specialists to provide further support to teams on the ground to contain the potential health crisis.

Save the Children has been working in Indonesia since 1976, and has a long history responding to humanitarian disasters in the country, including the recent earthquakes in Lombok and the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

What you can do

Read the incredible story of a mother who fought to dig her youngest child out of the rubble of their house, to save her life and keep their family together.

Help us continue supporting children in Indonesia – Donate to our Indonesia Tsunami appeal.

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