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Tsunami disaster – countries in crisis

Children facing devastation in Indonesia

© ANTARA news agency
Aceh after the tsunami in Indonesia.
ACEH, Indonesia, 29 December 2004 – Indonesia’s children are stuggling to survive the aftermath of the tsunamis that destroyed homes, roads and the water and sanitation infrastructure across the island nation.

“At least a third of the people who are affected are children, and the lives afterwards for the children are not getting any better. Apart from being separated from their parents, there is no water, no electricity, and virtually no telecommunication contact,” says John Budd, UNICEF Indonesia Communication Officer.

Indonesia is still in a state of emergency following the powerful earthquake that measured 9.0 on the Richter Scale. The surging tidal waves have left over 27,000 people dead and over 1,000 people missing in the country. These figures are expected to rise as the search for victims continues.

A total of 4.5 million people in Indonesia have been affected by the tsunamis. Over 100,000 houses were lost and children and adults have been forced to live in overcrowded makeshift camps.

© ANTARA news agency
A girl prays over coffins of her dead family members, victims of Tsunamis that hit Pidie, Aceh, Monday (27/12). The number of victims of the earthquakes that were followed by Tsunamis keeps going up.
In Aceh, the worst hit province, 60 per cent of its provincial capital Banda Aceh has been ruined. “There is only one hospital in Aceh, which has not been damaged. There are only two ambulances that are still operating,” says Mr. Budd.

UNICEF's immediate response is the provision of emergency health supplies, including medicines and medical supplies. Non-essential food items for children and families - blankets, tents, plastic sheeting and tents - are also being procured.

“We have managed to ship from the Copenhagen warehouse emergency health kits that can supply 200,000 people for about 2 weeks. These kits should help them cope with the problems like diarrhea, malaria and cholera, but we certainly need a lot more. There are at least another 300,000 people who are in need of these kits,” explains Mr. Budd.

According to the Indonesian Coordinating Minister of People’s Welfare Office, items urgently needed include tents, shelter, kitchen utensils, food, baby food, medicines, clothes, blankets, women’s hygiene products, clean water and generators.

“We are estimating that a preliminary budget for the supplies and other immediate relief to the people on the ground will be over $15 million in the first a few weeks. We are looking for more donations to help us with the relief efforts,” says Mr. Budd.




29 December: UNICEF Communication Officer John Budd talks about the devastation and difficulties facing Indonesia's children

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