May 31st, 2006 05:00 EST
International Aid Flowing to Indonesia Following Quake
Increasing international assistance is arriving in Yogayakarta, Indonesia, following last Friday's earthquake, which has claimed more than 5,000 lives and injured more than 8,000 people, the United Nations said today as its agencies rushed food, medicine, other supplies and cash to the area.
The earthquake, which measured 6.2 on the Richter scale, has damaged or destroyed more than 60,000 houses, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Most UN agencies have been able to redirect relief supplies and humanitarian personnel from other operations in Indonesia, including in tsunami-affected areas and near Mount Merapi, in support of the Government's response.
The Government of Indonesia has officially welcomed international assistance, citing antibiotics, food, blankets and tents as the most urgent needs. More than 22 countries have already responded with in-kind material assistance and international disaster response teams. The UN plans to launch an Emergency Response Action Plan for the Indonesia earthquake in the coming days following the conclusion of the main needs assessment.
The UN World Health Organization (WHO) has sent medicines, emergency health kits and communications equipment to the affected area. Additionally, four field hospitals have been deployed to the area by China, Qatar, Singapore and the United States. The Yogyakarta provincial government advises that these are sufficient to meet needs.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has been distributing food assistance; more than 70 metric tonnes of high-energy biscuits and 75 tonnes of noodles were dispatched to the affected areas. However, additional non-governmental organization (NGO) partners are needed to assist with the food distributions, OCHA said. Responding to a lack of storage space constraining assistance efforts, WFP is flying 10 mobile warehouses into the affected area.
For its part, the UN Children's Fund
bladders, hygiene and recreational kits, tarpaulins, lanterns, stoves, and cooking sets. Child centre tents have also been set up.
As part of the immediate response, OCHA released a $100,000 emergency cash grant from its reserve fund, and an additional $50,000 cash grant from Norwegian funds pre-positioned with OCHA. A five-member UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team is on the ground in the affected area.
The UN also warns that replenishment of stocks redirected to the earthquake-affected areas is essential to ongoing work in tsunami-affected and other areas.
Heavy rains late on Sunday made conditions worse for those left homeless by the earthquake, which was followed by 450 aftershocks, OCHA said.