The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today sent in almost $1 million in emergency aid, including hygiene kits, rehydration sachets and tarpaulin sheets, to the Indonesian province of Aceh, where deadly floods have already killed almost 100 people and left over 200,000 needing urgent assistance.
“We immediately deployed a team of seven people to the flooded areas of north and eastern Aceh after the request came in from the Indonesian Government for assistance,” said UNICEF’s Acting Head of Office in Aceh, Alaa Al-Alami.
The agency’s officers assessed the requirements of the people there, and today a UNICEF child protection team, accompanied by a local government social welfare officer, also arrived too in the worst affected area to focus on the needs of women and children.
Six lorries containing the emergency aid are travelling by roads opened for the first time today after rain and heavy flooding closed them off for days. They are departing from the North Sumatran city of Medan, heading for their destination in the severely-flooded district of Aceh Tamiang.
Initial figures suggest more than 200,000 people are in need of emergency help in several north, east and central districts of the province, while more than a 100 people are feared missing and the death toll so far is over 70 people.
The UNICEF supplies dispatched today include around 19,000 hygiene kits, 5,000 oral rehydration sachets, 2,500 water purification bottles, 2,500 tarpaulin sheets, some 1,200 sets of cooking utensils and 1,300 jerry cans. Additional UNICEF supplies will be sent on Thursday.
Aceh Tamiang district, in south eastern Aceh, is reported to be one of the most severely affected areas and, at its worst, as much as 90 per cent of the land was estimated to be under water, with many bridges having been swept away.
UNICEF is acting as part of a wider UN emergency relief operation headed by the Office of the UN Recovery Coordinator for Aceh and Nias. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has already sent in assistance and the world body’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has granted an initial $2 million for relief efforts.
The flash floods, which hit over the weekend, have been caused, in part, by rivers breaking their banks, unable to withstand the force of the extra water levels during sustained periods of heavy rain. This comes just two years after large parts of the province were the worst hit by the deadly Indian Ocean tsunami.