Ahmad Husein and Madeline Wilson for the IFRC – WNN Breaking
(WNN/IFRC) Sumatra, INDONESIA, ASIA PACIFIC: One month after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck Aceh Province, Indonesia, the Red Cross continues to provide support to affected communities. Over 52,000 people were forced to flee their homes after the earthquake struck Aceh Tengah and Bener Meriah districts, killing 42 people and injuring over 2,500 people.
The Indonesian Red Cross Society – or Palang Merah Indonesia (PMI) – initially deployed 32 volunteers to reach both locations to assist with search and rescue operations, assess needs and distribute relief supplies. A rapid response team of ten staff from the Red Cross headquarters in Jakarta also deployed to the affected area to assist with assessments, and health and medical services.
For 43-year-old Mahyudin, the earthquake occurred when he was on his way home from work in Aceh Tengah. His first thoughts were for the safety of his wife and their three children.
“The world seemed to end,” Mahyudin remembering the moment the earthquake struck. Mahyudin later found that part of his house had indeed collapsed, but his family were safe. They evacuated to a safer place with 40 other families from the neighbourhood and erected shelters. Later that evening, Mahydin’s entire house collapsed during the aftershocks that continued into the night.
Mahyudin’s family are one of the 1,500 families who have received clean drinking water from the five Red Cross water trucks – each one provides a total of 25,000 litres of water each day. Mahuydin’s son also attends the informal educational activities being carried out by Red Cross volunteers, to provide a place for children to play and learn while they are unable to go to school, as classrooms were damaged and school operations are currently on hold while teachers and families in the area begin to recover.
Mahyudin explained that he was worried about his son after the earthquake, but the support from the Red Cross has helped to create a sense of normality. “He is okay now, playing with his friends without any complaint. I am very relieved for him,” says Mahyudin.
Hundreds of earthquake survivors have received medical treatment from three Red Cross mobile health clinics. The clinic teams travelled in ambulances to remote areas, particularly in Aceh Tengah, and included doctors and nurses, while an orthopaedic surgeon supported operations in the Datu Beru Hospital in Takengon City, Aceh Tengah.
The Red Cross has distributed relief supplies in 24 villages, including over 600 family kits, 500 tarpaulins, 1,600 blankets, 200 baby kits, clothing and other essential supplies. The Red Cross has also distributed 20,000 zinc roof sheets to repair the roofs of 1,000 houses.
The operation being carried out by the Indonesian Red Cross Society is supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Funds from the IFRC’s Disaster Response Emergency Fund have been released to support the distribution of essential supplies, health services, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene activities.