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Indonesia: ICRC operations in Aceh

31-12-2004 News Release No. 04/151

The Indonesian province of Aceh was particularly hard hit by the massive disaster that struck south-east Asia on 26 December. The ICRC has been involved in relief efforts, working through its office in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh. The organization will shortly begin providing items such as tarpaulins, buckets, and clothing for up to 300,000 people in the province, together with a 100-bed field hospital and equipment for supplying clean water.

On 29 December, volunteers from the Indonesian Red Cross Society ( Palang Merah Indonesia , PMI) distributed 1,000 tarpaulins for making shelters, plus 1,800 family kits containing cooking and hygiene supplies, all provided by the ICRC. The ICRC also provided medical supplies for two hospitals in Banda Aceh and issued body bags, gloves and masks to PMI volunteers helping to remove bodies. The PMI has already collected nearly 6,000 corpses in the town of Banda Aceh alone.

Also on 29 December, a plane carrying ICRC specialists and additional supplies arrived in Banda Aceh. This team has been assessing the situation in nine camps in and around the provincial capital where people have taken refuge. ICRC water and sanitation engineers are assessing the town's water treatment facilities and have started to provide clean water. Working with the PMI, the ICRC has also begun to set up a system for tracing and reuniting people who have lost contact with their families.

The ICRC is working closely with the Indonesian Red Cross Society and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The organization also maintains regular contact with the Indonesian authorities. In coordination with its partners, the ICRC plans to assess the humanitarian situation outside Banda Aceh, particularly along the north-east coast towards Lhokseumawe.

 For more information please contact:  

 Florian Westphal, ICRC Geneva, ++41 22 730 29 30 / ++41 79 217 32 26  

 Martin Unternaehrer, ICRC Jakarta, ++62 21 720 72 52 / ++62 811 138 375