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Tsunami disaster – countries in crisis

More devastation revealed in Indonesia as UNICEF aid reaches children

© UNICEF/HQ05-0018/Holmes
Survivors share a tent in Banda Aceh. Their coastal village was completely destroyed by the tsunami and most of the community was killed.

NEW YORK, 4 January 2005 - As UNICEF aid reaches survivors of the tsunamis in Indonesia, the tremendous scale of the devastation in some parts of the country is being revealed. Many people who fled from coastal villages in the west of Sumatra report whole communities being wiped out.

UNICEF staff at the Mater Ai  camp for displaced people in the northern province of Aceh, are gathering vital information on where extra aid is most needed.

“The army have set up here for people who have managed to trek out of the isolated west coast and have managed to reach the outskirts of Banda Aceh (the provincial capital),” says UNICEF Emergency Communications Officer Gordon Weiss.

“Our interest is in trying to speak to these people and find out how many people survived and how many were left behind in the west coast and the numbers of people who were killed from the original communities. We are trying to get some idea of that so we know where we are directing our aid.”

Already aid is reaching some of the people worst affected in the country where at least 82,000 people have died and hundreds more are missing. The death toll is still climbing. Keeping children alive is UNICEF’s priority here as it is elsewhere in the stricken region. Blankets, sheets, tents and health supplies are being distributed – enough medical kits to treat 200,000 patients have been sent to hospitals in the area.

UNICEF is also helping to trace missing children and reunite them with their families. A child friendly centre has been opened as a matter of urgency where children can receive medical treatment and support.

Indonesia is still in a state of emergency and the terrible damage caused by the tsunamis is hampering relief efforts. But UNICEF says aid is getting through and more information over the next few days will help improve distribution.









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6 January 2005: Carol Bellamy sees the devastation in Banda Aceh

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4 January 2005: Disaster grows in Indonesia as UNICEF delivers aid

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