Shelter urgently needed for Indonesian quake victims, UN aid agencies say

20 October 2009

Finding shelter tops the list of priorities for emergency relief agencies scrambling to help hundreds of thousands of people in Indonesia devastated by last month’s powerful earthquake off the coast of the island of Sumatra, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.

Finding shelter tops the list of priorities for emergency relief agencies scrambling to help hundreds of thousands of people in Indonesia devastated by last month’s powerful earthquake off the coast of the island of Sumatra, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.

The 7.9-magnitude Indian Ocean earthquake on 30 September – which killed at least 1,117 people – either severely or moderately damaged over 200,000 households in need of emergency shelter in seven of the 19 districts in West Sumatra, according to OCHA.

Some 96 per cent of houses, or almost 85,000, have been damaged in the worst-hit district of Padang Pariaman, National Disaster Management Agency has told OCHA.

In addition, only 20 per cent of Padang city’s 778,000 residents remains connected to the water distribution network, according to relief agencies working in the area. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) plans to provide generators to ensure continuous running of the four pumping stations in the city, with other aid groups working to improve water and sanitation.

The damage to infrastructure includes almost 3,000 classrooms in 204 schools, affecting the education of around 90,000 students from pre-school to upper secondary level, and a further 73 madrasahs have also been damaged, the Ministry of Religious Affairs told OCHA.

The Government and aid agencies have constructed 248 temporary classroom structures in Padang city, and provided 283 tents and basic teaching materials for 87,000 children, as well as recreation equipment for over 5,000 children.

A team of 17 structural engineers deployed by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and New Zealand Aid have assessed the structural damage to 120 public buildings to identify which need to be demolished or repaired. Their initial assessment found that 50 per cent are safe to occupy and 25 per cent are unfit.

 

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UN humanitarian chief ends visit to Indonesia as death toll from quake tops 1,100

The official death toll from last month’s earthquake that struck the Indonesian island of Sumatra has climbed to 1,117, including those still missing, the United Nations humanitarian arm reported today as its chief wrapped up a two-day mission to the site of the destruction.