IRC Responds to Tsunami Disaster in Devastated Aceh, Indonesia; Emergency Teams Deploy
To make a donation to help IRC emergency programs in Aceh, Indonesia, click here.
The International Rescue Committee is mounting a massive disaster relief effort in response to last weekend’s devastating offshore earthquake and tsunami. More than 40 tons of emergency medical supplies, shelter material and water storage tanks are being procured and airlifted to Indonesia to meet the needs of tens of thousands of refugees in devastated Aceh Province.
Aceh is the region closest to the quake’s epicenter and the death toll there is estimated at 80,000 people and rising. Scores more have been injured and an estimated 500,000 people have been left homeless. The IRC is deploying mobile emergency response teams consisting of medical, water, sanitation, child trauma and logistics experts who will help address the immediate survival needs of the affected communities. In the emergency phase, the IRC will focus on increasing access to potable water and sanitation facilities, delivering urgent primary health care, distributing emergency supplies and providing psychosocial aid for survivors.
“Our first priority is to ensure that people have access to safe drinking water” says Gerald Martone, IRC’s director of emergency programs. “Contaminated drinking water is the most serious cause of death and disease in a crisis like this. We are dispatching public health professionals to Aceh who are experts in securing potable water sources in extreme situations.”
To help prevent a lethal outbreak of infectious diseases in disaster-affected communities, the IRC is quickly bringing in essential medicines and clinical supplies for 250,000 people for a three-month period. The IRC will also distribute insecticide-treated plastic sheeting for shelter, blankets, water containers, and other items urgently required by the hundreds of thousands of survivors who have been made homeless by the disaster.
The IRC has been aiding conflict-affected communities in Indonesia since 1999. In 2001, the IRC began working through the CARDI consortium, which brings together four specialized humanitarian agencies: the IRC, the Danish Refugee Council, the Norwegian Refugee Council and Stichting Vluchteling.