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At a glance: Indonesia

Relief supplies arrive to help survivors cope with Indonesia quake impact

© UNICEF Indonesia/2006/Estey
On the floor of Penembahan Senopati Hospital in the Bantul district of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Rani, 5, awaits treatment for an injured hand. The hospital has received a steady stream of quake victims.

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia, 29 May 2006 – Emergency supplies for people left homeless by Saturday’s earthquake are being distributed in the worst-affected areas of this devastated city today.

The first of three airlifts planned by UNICEF to provide initial relief to victims of the disaster arrived in the early hours this morning. The supplies include collapsible water tanks, tarpaulins, family tents, cooking sets and recreation kits for children.

The powerful quake, measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale, struck at 5:55 a.m. local time on 27 May just south of Indonesia’s art and culture capital, Yogyakarta, in Central Java. The quake left more than 5,000 people dead, mainly in the rural district of Bantul.

As many as 30,000 other people were injured, and some 130,000 have been displaced as a result of severe damage to homes across the region. Most of the homeless survivors are remaining near their residences in about 15 small camps.

“From our initial assessments, about 40 per cent of the total number of displaced people are children, and 15 per cent are under five years of age,” said UNICEF’s Emergency Relief Coordinator in Yogyakarta, Edouard Beigbeder. “They require particular care due to their young age.”

© UNICEF Indonesia/2006/Estey
A father and daughter wait on the floor of the Penembahan Senopati Hospital in Bantul district, Yogyakarta, as an IV drips fluids.

Young children hit hard

UNICEF personnel arrived on the scene just hours after the earthquake to assess the immediate needs of the survivors – especially children. A team of 20 UNICEF staff is now carrying out operations in the area.

Mr. Beigbeder said today that a major priority was the provision of water and sanitation in the devastated Bantul district, particularly at hospitals overwhelmed with injured people.

“We are working with the hospitals’ administration to initially provide water and then to clean the site,” he said. “By tomorrow afternoon we hope to be able to supply emergency latrines.”

Yesterday, the district hospital in Bantul was still a picture of despair, with new victims continually being rushed in on stretchers by security forces or medical volunteers. The hospital’s doctors and nurses were visibly overwhelmed by patients seeking emergency medial attention. About half of those being treated were children.

In surrounding villages, further evidence of the previous day’s tragedy could be seen everywhere: Entire houses collapsed in on themselves, with residents’ personal effects scattered amid the rubble; and school buildings flattened.

Supplies delivered by land and air

Today’s first UNICEF airlift delivered emergency equipment to help meet the basic needs of families and children in the earthquake zone. Additional supplies arrived in the city by truck convoy. UNICEF supplies delivered to Yogyakarta so far include:

  • 20 collapsible water bladders
  • 20,000 hygiene kits
  • 10 recreation kits
  • 10 large tents
  • 100 family tents
  • 1,000 tarpaulin sheets
  • 1,100 cooking sets
  • 1 generator.

Further supplies will be sent by air tomorrow, and more have left by land today from UNICEF’s Medan warehouse in Sumatra.

UNICEF is coordinating with its partners – Oxfam, the International Red Cross, PDM, the local water board and  the government public works department – to supply clean water to Bantul at emergency distribution points.

UNICEF is also setting up a child centre in Bantul to provide trauma counselling and recreation for children.




28 May 2006: UNICEF correspondent Kun Li reports on the impact of the earthquake in Central Java, Indonesia, and UNICEF's emergency response.
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27 May 2006: UNICEF Indonesia Communication Officer John Budd describes immediate efforts to help quake-affected families in central Java. Reported by correspondent Sabine Dolan.
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