|UNICEF supplies remaining from the massive relief effort that followed the 2004 tsunami – which hit hardest in Banda Aceh on the island of Sumatra – may be tapped to respond to the current emergency on the south coast of Java.|
By Chris Niles
NEW YORK, USA, 17 July 2006 – UNICEF is sending a rapid assessment team to the Indonesian island of Java, where a series of earthquakes triggered a tsunami just after 3 p.m. local time today.
The epicentre of the earthquake was located offshore from the beach resort of Pangandaran in Central Java. The US Geological Survey said the first quake measured 7.7 on the Richter scale and was followed by several aftershocks.
The resulting tsunami sent six-foot waves crashing onto the town and sent thousands running for higher ground.
“We’ve been in touch with our office in Java and based on what we know now, there are at least 60 people killed and about 60 people missing so far,” said UNICEF Emergency Officer Lina Sofiani in the capital, Jakarta. “Tomorrow morning we will join the UN team to do a rapid assessment in the area.”
Emergency supplies from 2004 tsunami
Ms. Sofiani said there were reports that thousands of people may have been displaced as a result of the quake and tsunami, but she could not yet confirm that number.
“If we have thousands of people displaced, then we need to assess the condition of women and children along with the schools and the condition of health facilities in the area,” she said.
The earthquake was felt in Jakarta and caused waves up to 15 feet along the Java coast.
UNICEF has critical emergency supplies in Jakarta left over from the enormous relief effort following the December 2004 tsunami, which struck Banda Aceh on the island of Sumatra.
“We still have our contingency stock in Jakarta,” said Ms. Sofiani. “We will be able to move supplies very soon.”
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