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Indonesia bulletin No. 2 – 11 February 2005

11-02-2005 Operational Update

ICRC activities to help tsunami victim

The undersea earthquake and the tsunami that struck Asia on 26 December last year caused large-scale devastation and loss of life in Indonesia. In a combined effort, all components of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, including the ICRC, have been endeavouring to alleviate the suffering caused by the disaster.

    

The ICRC was already present in the Indonesian province of Aceh prior to the disaster because of the conflict there. It was therefore able to respond rapidly with a substantial team of relief, medical, and water and habitat personnel already working in Indonesia (some at the Banda Aceh office.) The ICRC team there has been reinforced over the past weeks to meet emergency needs in Banda Aceh, Aceh Besar and as far away as Lhokseumawe on the east coast.

 General situation as of 7 February  

    

The Aceh provincial administration is striving to get life back to normal. All civil servants had been called back to work by 31 January. Meanwhile, volunteers of the Indonesian Red Cross Society and other military and civilian helpers are still evacuating dead bodies from the tsunami-affected areas.

Although electricity has been restored in many parts of Banda Aceh and Meulaboh, on the west coast, there are still districts such as Aceh Utara and Lhokseumawe lacking regular power supply.

People displaced from their homes by the disaster have now moved from school buildings, where they initially found shelter, to tent camps. Meanwhile, the government is constructing barracks to accommodate them.

On the whole, the need for medical assistance continues to be well covered. There has been no spread of infectious diseases and so the feared epidemics have not materialized.

 Assistance  

    

The ICRC generally carries out assistance operations jointly with the Indonesian Red Cross. During the first week of February, 3,592 families displaced by the tsunami received 2,395 essential household items as well as 8,352 blankets, 4,291 mats, 2,035 tarpaulins, and 191 boxes of underwear (one box being sufficient for 10 families). The beneficiaries stressed the importance of being provided with underwear.

By 5 February, the ICRC and the Indonesian Red Cross had helped nearly 138,000 persons (31,218 families) in Banda Aceh, Aceh Besar, Pidie, Bireuen and Aceh Utara districts with food and non-food items.

 Medical care  

    

Since the disaster struck, the ICRC has been delivering essential medical supplies, including medicines and dressings, to two hospitals in Lhokseumawe and to 20 other health-care facilities along the coast between Banda Aceh and Lhokseumawe. First-aid kits have also been supplied to the Indonesian National Society.

In mid-January, a 100-bed ICRC field hospital opened in Banda Aceh. It is staffed by over 30 medical specialists from the Norwegian Red Cross and other National Red Cross Societies and by locally hired medical and support personnel. So far the hospital has treated more than 2,850 outpatients while 178 patients have been admitted.    

    

The hospital consists of 25 tents and meets surgical, gynaecological, maternity and paediatric needs.   A newly installed 70,000-litre tank ensures supplies of clean water for the hospital.

On 1 February a camp was opened inside the Long Raya stadium near the field hospital to accommodate up to 400 discharged patients requiring follow-up medical treatment, and their relatives. By 7 February, eight registered patients and 20 families members had taken advantage of the camp to be close to the hospital.

 Water and sanitation  

    

Every day, the ICRC supplies 24,000 litres of drinking water to Banda Aceh. The organization also furnished the Banda Aceh and Lhokseumawe water boards with one month's worth of water-treatment chemicals. Meanwhile, the ICRC is helping to improve the water treatment and sanitation installations in temporary displacement camps in Aceh Besar and Lhokseumawe. At the same time, needs have been assessed at different camps housing people displaced by the tsunami in Bireuen district.

Once displaced people have been transferred into more long-term accommodation, the ICRC plans to step up its activities to provide clean water and improved sanitation.

 Restoring family links  

    

In the aftermath of the disaster, the ICRC took the lead within the Movement and, in close cooperation with the Indonesian Red Cross, developed a comprehensive system to facilitate restoration of family links.

Since early January, members of more than 1,400 separated families have been put back in touch with each other. This was mainly achieved using satellite phones, which joint ICRC and National Society teams made available to survivors, particularly on the west coast of Aceh.

In addition, the ICRC has set up two databases: "I am alive" and "Persons Sought" , which so far contain 9,912 names . These have been made accessible to the public in the form of printed materials, posters and an Internet site ( www.familylinks.org ) and through broad cooperation with the media (newspaper, radio, TV).

The ICRC and the Indonesian Red Cross are paying particular attention to the cases of children separated from all close family members. So far, 19 such children have been registered, with three being successfully reunited with their families.

 Visits to detainees  

    

Following the tsunami, both the National Police and the Ministry of Justice supported the resumption of ICRC visits t o places of detention as a means of aiding the authorities in addressing the most urgent needs of the detainees under their responsibility. The aim of these visits is to monitor the conditions of detention and the treatment of detainees. To date, ICRC delegates have conducted initial visits to detainees in five police stations.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Bernt Appeland, ICRC Aceh, tel. +62 811 982 504  

 ICRC Jakarta, tel. + 62 21 720 72 52  

 Annick Bouvier, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 24 58