Joint UN assessment underway in quake-hit Indonesia

5 January 2009

A joint United Nations assessment mission is being carried out in the Indonesian province of West Papua, where a series of earthquakes yesterday injured hundreds, damaged more than 800 houses and sent some 14,000 fleeing from their homes.

Local officials say at least five people were killed in the quakes, the first of which hit at 4:43 a.m. local time and measured 7.2 on the Richter scale, according to the Indonesian National Meteorological Geophysical and Climatology Agency.

A second earthquake measuring 7.6 hit at 7:33 a.m. local time, followed by over a dozen aftershocks.

According to official data released by the provincial disaster coordinating unit in West Papua, four of those killed were in Manokwari, which is situated 95 kilometres from the epicentre of the quakes, and one person in Sorong.

Some 250 people were injured, while more than 800 houses, 34 government buildings, four schools, and 11 places of worship were damaged. The Indonesian National Meteorological Geophysical and Climatology Agency predicts that aftershocks will continue in the next three to seven days.

An estimated 14,000 people who fled their damaged homes or left their houses fearing more earthquakes or aftershocks have sought accommodation in shelters for displaced people.

The Indonesian Government has reportedly transported relief supplies, including food, medical supplies, tarpaulins, water purification equipment and generators to the affected areas.

UN agencies in the provincial capital Jayapura have met to consider what assistance could be provided to local authorities in the affected areas if required.

The assessment mission is being carried out by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

 

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