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Update on the humanitarian activities of Red Cross and Red Crescent in response to the earthquake that struck Nias and Simeulue islands

Thursday March 31, 2005

The Red Cross and Red Crescent response to the massive earthquake off the coast of the Indonesian Island of Sumatra has been swift and timely. On the islands of Nias - the worst affected - and Simeulue, doctors and nurses from Red Cross continue to focus on getting medical assistance to the survivors. Meeting the medical needs of the people will be a Red Cross priority for at least the next 3 to 4 days.

Meanwhile information about the situation on the island of Banyak - between Simeulue and Nias - is starting to reach mainland Sumatra. A Red Cross assessment team is scheduled to fly there today on a Red Cross helicopter.

Key Red Cross & Red Crescent highlights of the operation as at 30 March 2005:

  • In Nias 19 people mainly with multiple fractures, infected wounds and skull fractures have been evacuated to Medan on the mainland of Sumatra
  • A Red Cross medical team has established a medical post at the main airport in Nias
  • In the capital Gunungsitoli two Red Cross health posts staffed with Red Cross doctors and health staff have been established
  • Two Red Cross relief flights carrying tarpaulins, tents, clothing, bedding, four-wheel-drive vehicles as well as enough medicines and medical supplies to treat 10,000 people for three months have landed on Nias
  • On the island of Simeulue a Red Cross team there reports 10% of buildings and infrastructure was damaged or destroyed by the earthquake, including the airstrip, which can only take small planes
  • According to health officials on Simeulue, at least 100 people died and dozens were injured

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is currently supporting the Indonesian Red Cross distribution of food and relief items to some 11,500 survivors of the 26 December tsunami on the Island of Simeulue.