UN agencies take further steps to help earthquake survivors in Indonesia

1 June 2006

As the death toll continues to rise in the Indonesian island city of Yogyakarta and its surrounding areas in the aftermath of a devastative earthquake, United Nations agencies continue to help Government’s efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to tens of thousands of survivors.

The UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team has consolidated its presence at Yogyakarta Airport to help efficiently channel relief supplies from international donors, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today, adding that the death toll in the affected areas has risen to over 6,300.

Measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale, the earthquake has damaged or destroyed more than 100,000 homes, 269 schools, 49 kilometres of roads and bridges, 302 Government buildings and 284 religious institutions.

The World Food Programme (WFP) reports that in the past few days the prices of rice has increased in urban areas by 10 to 15 per cent, which makes life even more difficult of thousands of poor families who have lost their homes and assets in the quake.

Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has opened a child protection centre in Bantul. The agency plans to set up four other centres in Yogyakarta by the end of this week.

For its part, the UN World Health Organization (WHO), which continues to provide medical care to survivors, has set up a disease surveillance system in many areas hit by Saturday’s earthquake. The organization is also helping to manage incoming medical supplies at the airports to ensure that the right medicines and equipment are distributed to the right places.

WHO officials said the supply of certain medicines is insufficient which include antibiotics, anaesthetics and orthopaedics. The organization is currently compiling a list of essential drugs and equipment, which will be constantly updated and distributed.

As part of further efforts to extend its help to more than 100,000 earthquake survivors, the UN is due to launch an Earthquake Response Plan tomorrow, OCHA officials said, adding that the world body’s agencies and their nongovernmental partners would continue their humanitarian work in the area for about six months.


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