More than 200,000 people may be affectedBANDA ACEH, 27 DECEMBER 2006 – Emergency UNICEF supplies are on their way to help tens of thousands of people affected by severe flooding in parts of Aceh.
Six lorries containing nearly a million dollars worth of aid are traveling by roads opened for the first time today after days of closure caused by rain and heavy flooding. They are departing from the North Sumatran city of Medan, heading for their destination in the severely-flooded district of Aceh Tamiang.
Indicative figures suggest more than 200,000 people are in need of emergency help in several north, east and central districts of Aceh. More than a hundred people are feared missing while early figures place the death toll at more than 70 people.
UNICEF’s Acting Head of Aceh Office, Alaa Al-Alami, said: “We immediately deployed a team of seven people to the flooded areas of north and eastern Aceh after the request came in from the Indonesian government for assistance. The UNICEF officers made a rapid assessment of the needs of the people there, how we might reach them and the likely numbers of people affected.
“Today a UNICEF child protection team, accompanied by a local government social welfare officer, has arrived too in the worst affected area, to assess the condition and needs of children and women.”
The UNICEF supplies dispatched to the flooded areas includes: 19,303 hygiene kits, 5,000 oral rehydration sachets, 2,500 water purification bottles, 2,500 tarpaulin sheets(4mx5m), 1,218 sets of cooking utensils, 900 jerry cans(20 litres) and 400 jerry cans(10 litres).
Another UNICEF batch of supplies containing more hygiene kits and tarpaulins will be dispatched from Medan on Thursday, 28 December. The total value of all these supplies is around $900,000 and weighs more than 75 metric tonnes.
The district of Aceh Tamiang, in south eastern Aceh, is reported to be one of the most severely affected areas. At its worst as much as 90 per cent of the land was reported to be under water. Many bridges have been swept away.
UNICEF is acting as part of a wider UN emergency relief operation headed by the Office of the UN Recovery Coordinator for Aceh and Nias.
The flash floods have been caused, in part, by rivers breaking their banks, unable to withstand the force of the extra water levels during sustained periods of heavy rain. This comes just two years after large parts of the province suffered devastation as a result of the Indian Ocean tsunami.
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For further information, please contact:
Mervyn Fletcher, UNICEF Media officer: Tel + 62 811 987296