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Indonesia: ICRC activities in Aceh

05-01-2005 News Release

The ICRC was already operating in Aceh and working closely with the Indonesian Red Cross Society (Palang Merah Indonesia, PMI), so it was able to get started quickly on the momentous task of helping Aceh’s earthquake and tsunami victims.

On 29 December, PMI volunteers distributed 1,000 tarpaulins for shelters and 1,800 family kits (cooking and hygiene items), supplied by the ICRC. The ICRC also provided medical supplies for two hospitals in the provincial capital Banda Aceh and issued body bags, gloves and masks to PMI volunteers clearing bodies. So far, the PMI and other organizations have collected over 15,000 corpses in Banda Aceh alone.

The same day, a plane carrying ICRC specialists and additional supplies arrived in Banda Aceh, and the team has since been working closely with the PMI. ICRC water and sanitation engineers are assessing displaced persons’ access to water and sanitation, providing sanitation facilities and clean water where necessary. They are in touch with the authorities and have assessed Banda Aceh’s water-treatment plant (currently working at about 60% of capacity) with a view to helping repair it. The ICRC now has fresh supplies in Aceh, allowing it to provide water for up to 20,000 people if needed.

Delegates are visiting some 60 locations where displaced persons have gathered, in Banda Aceh and the surrounding district of Aceh Besar. These quick surveys are immediately followed by the distribution of clothing, hygiene and household requisites, and shelter materials. To date, 8,500 people have benefited. Over the coming weeks, the ICRC plans to bring similar aid to some 300,000 displaced persons throughout the north of the province.

Medical specialists continue to monitor the surviving hospitals in Banda Aceh and the ad hoc health facilities set up where displaced persons have gathered, providing medical supplies where necessary. A 100-bed field hospital from the Norwegian Red Cr oss should be operational in a few days. The ICRC is also assessing needs on the north-east coast.

Working closely with the PMI, the ICRC has begun to set up a system for tracing and reuniting those who have lost contact with their families. Initially, people will be able to contact relatives outside Aceh via a satellite phone at the PMI office in Banda Aceh.

The ICRC is working closely with the PMI and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and is in regular contact with the Indonesian authorities.

 For more information please contact:  

 Martin Unternaehrer, ICRC Banda Aceh, tel. ++62 651 47679 / ++62 811 138 375  

 Alfariza Fortuna, ICRC Jakarta, tel. ++62 21 739 6756 / ++62 811 80 28 29  

 Eros Bosisio, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 22 730 21 01 / ++41 79 217 32 64