The IRC Distributes Emergency Aid to Sumatra Earthquake Survivors
The International Rescue Committee is distributing emergency food rations, tents and household items to families affected by last week’s devastating earthquake on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Working through partner organization Leuser, a student volunteer association based in the Sumatran city of Banda Aceh, the IRC is focusing its response on the outskirts of the coastal city of Pariaman, the hardest hit by the earthquake.
The 7.6-magnitude earthquake started at sea on September 30 and quickly rippled through Sumatra, the westernmost island in the Indonesian archipelago. According to local officials, the death toll has exceeded 600 people, with hundreds more believed to be trapped in collapsed buildings. Thousands are homeless.
“While we expect the Indonesian government and aid groups already on the ground to meet the most basic needs over time, there is still a lot to be done to help those in more remote areas,” said Michael Kocher, the IRC’s vice president of international programs. “We are confident that the student volunteers will reach neglected villages and provide aid to especially vulnerable families. They can also help to connect earthquake victims with other service providers.”
The IRC ended its program in Indonesia in 2008 after eight years. During that time the IRC assisted thousands of people displaced by sectarian violence and the 2004 tsunami that devastated Aceh and killed tens of thousands on Sumatra. It also provided health care, clean water, education, psycho-social care and other aid to hundreds of thousands of Indonesians.
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