Donors step in with aid following fatal Indonesia earthquake

1 Oct 18

International donors have pledged help for Indonesia after it was hit by a deadly earthquake and tsunami on Friday, killing more than 800 people.

The southeast Asian country’s president Joko Widodo called for urgent help this weekend following the 7.5 magnitude earthquake and tsunami, which shook the island region of Sulawesi. 

Oxfam has launched an appeal of £2.6m to meet the immediate needs of people in the area and said it was aiming to help at least 500,000 people with food, water purification kits and shelter backs. 

Following the government’s appeal, UK secretary of state for international development Penny Mordaunt announced on Twitter that her department would make £2m available to meet immediate needs and would deploy a team of UK experts.

The European Commission also said it would release €1.5m (£1.33m) in emergency humanitarian assistance.

Commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management Christos Stylianides said: “Our funding will assist the most vulnerable and help provide essential supplies such as food, shelter, water and sanitation and medical supplies.”

The Indonesian government said more than two million people could be affected by the events. UN figures have suggested that some 191,000 are in urgent need of help.

Australia’s prime minister and foreign affairs minister said the country was “ready to assist”, if required.

Thailand has also offered help. Indonesian finance minister Sri Mulyana Indrawati said the government has allocated $37.58m for disaster recovery, media reported. Fears are growing that emergency supplies of medicine, food and water are running low.

There is also a shortage of heavy equipment needed to reach victims trapped under collapsed buildings.

Authorities have announced a 14-day state of emergency amid fears of a disease outbreak caused by decomposing bodies.

The government has ordered for those killed by the tsunami to be buried in mass graves to avoid such outbreaks.

At least 840 people were killed and hundreds of houses and buildings have collapsed, according to the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency.

The agency said the death toll is likely to be higher as local officials are now counting the bodies.

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