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News note

Tens of thousands of Indonesians forced to flee homes after deadly quake

UNICEF deploys humanitarian staff to quake-zone to support Government emergency relief efforts

JAKARTA, 1 October 2009 – UNICEF Indonesia is deploying emergency staff to the province of West Sumatra to assess the immediate health, water, sanitation, education and critical protection needs of children who survived yesterday’s deadly earthquake.

According to initial estimates, a 7.6 Richter-scale earthquake killed at least 500 people on 30 September. The death toll is expected to rise sharply. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes in the coastal provincial capital of Padang and surrounding highlands. One third of those affected are estimated to be children.

 “The needs of thousands of children are vast and urgent. They must have access to clean water, shelter, and get help in overcoming the aftermath of the earthquake,” said Angela Kearney, UNICEF Country Representative in Indonesia.

“Children who survived the quake are at extreme risk of illnesses, including diarrhoeal diseases, acute respiratory infections and outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, and polio.  The risk of tetanus is very high due to injuries and open wounds,” she said.

UNICEF is ready to support the Indonesian government tackle immediate needs such as ensuring the availability of clean water, sanitation facilities and hygiene kits, providing protective services and safe places for children, and by providing emergency early childhood care kits, school tents, school-in-a-box and recreational kits which help get children back to school quickly and build a sense of normalcy.

UNICEF has been present in Indonesia almost continuously since 1948. In cooperation with the government and local non-government organizations, UNICEF has assisted children with the difficult challenge of adjusting to a radically altered life after emergencies. This includes the world’s biggest humanitarian assistance effort for the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed more than 130,000 people in Aceh, Indonesia, the northernmost tip of Sumatra island.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:
Lely Djuhari, UNICEF Indonesia,
Tel + 62 811 802 338 / + 62 21 255 88 71,
E-mail: ldjuhari@unicef.org

Geoff Keele, UNICEF East Asia Pacific,
Tel + 66 2 356 9407,
E-mail: gkeele@unicef.org

Patrick McCormick, UNICEF NY,
Tel + 1 212 326 7426,
E-mail: pmccormick@unicef.org




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