UN sends $2 million to flood-hit Aceh region of Indonesia
In response to flash floods that swept over the province of Aceh in Indonesia earlier this month, the United Nations has allocated an initial $2 million grant from its Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for the relief effort in the area, where an estimated 170,000 have been forced to flee their homes.
The floods, which hit on 21 and 22 December, affected some 160 villages, primarily in Lhokseumawe and North Aceh. Many of the displaced are staying in tents or in public buildings.
“The CERF was established precisely to ensure this kind of rapid response to urgent needs,” said UN Acting Emergency Relief Coordinator Margareta Wahlstrom. “That is why its replenishment is so crucial each year.”
As of mid-December, donors, among them several disaster-prone countries including Indonesia, had pledged some $344 million to the CERF for 2007.
Roads leading to many of the affected areas are reportedly blocked by flooding and landslides, which are making access difficult, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Air access has also been problematic due to a lack of landing spots. The Provincial Government has asked the UN system to help coordinate and provide humanitarian assistance to the affected areas.
Meanwhile, the local government has responded with initial emergency aid to the flood affected areas, while the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is also involved, OCHA said.
While a consolidated plan for the distribution of relief items is being prepared by the UN in Indonesia, UN agencies have already started providing assistance with resources from their ongoing programmes, which will need to be replenished, the Office said.
The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has 15,000 tarpaulins, and other stocks in Aceh and in Medan that could be mobilized, and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) can release sufficient ready-to-eat food for one to two weeks from its current operations. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has 1,680 family tents, 1,300 hygiene kits, 100 individual kits for childbearing women, and 8 sets of reproductive health kits that could be mobilized from Jakarta.