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Operational update on the humanitarian activities of Red Cross and Red Crescent in response to the Java earthquake

Thursday June 1, 2006


Since the 27 May earthquake, hundreds of aftershocks have been reported in the affected zone. Most people remain in the open even at night for fear of further strong quakes.

The official death toll stands at more than 5,700 with over 16,000 people reported injured. More than 13,000 houses were damaged and an estimated 200,000 people are homeless. Overall 60 - 80 per cent of houses are thought have been destroyed or severely damaged.

Operational constraints

Adding to concerns is the increasing volcanic activity at Mt Merapi, 40 km north of Yogyakarta, with 500 metre high plumes of heated clouds billowing from its mouth and trails of lava running down its slopes, heightening fears of an eruption.

Although Red Cross relief activities are continuing to gain momentum, damaged roads, heavy storms and continuing rainfall together with damaged infrastructure continue to compound the huge relief effort.

Australian Red Cross

Australian Red Cross launched the 'Indonesian Disaster Appeal' on Monday 29 May 2006 to support communities affected by disasters in Indonesia, including the Java earthquake.

In addition Australian Red Cross has deployed 7 aid workers to the region: a four-person medical team comprising trauma surgeon Dr Valerie Malka (NSW), orthopaedic surgeon Dr Tim Keenan (WA), and experienced Red Cross field nurses Margaret Brewster (NSW) and Leanne McKenry (Vic).

Three further aid workers were redeployed to assist in the emergency response from Red Cross tsunami operations in Aceh: nurses Libby Bowell (NSW) and Linda O'Brien (Vic) and Dr Malyeah, an Indonesian national who has been working with Australian Red Cross. Libby, Linda and Dr Malyeah are expected to return to Aceh by Friday 2 June.

Red Cross response

  • So far the Red Cross has distributed 2,300 tents and 5,500 tarpaulins - providing shelter to more than 38,500 people in Yogyakarta, Klaten, Bantul, Slema and Boyolali
  • 10 mobile Red Cross medical teams are on the ground in and around Yogyakarta, providing almost 5,000 patients with initial medical and first aid services
  • 10 mobile Red Cross field hospitals are fully functioning, enabling Red Cross volunteers to distribute approximately 15,000 meals a day
  • 5,000 food parcels have been handed out to 25,000 people, with another 20,000 on their way - enough for 100,000 survivors
  • 25,000 litres of bottled water have been distributed, helping meet the needs of quake survivors until further water production commences
  • 10,000 blankets and 10,000 hygiene kits have been distributed to 10,000 families - about 50,000 people

A Red Cross field hospital redeployed from Aceh to Yogyakarta is now operational and already providing essential and comprehensive curative and diagnostic health (including an operating theatre, X-ray and path lab facilities) for up to 150,000 people.