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ICRC - Indonesia bulletin No. 1

Indonesia bulletin No. 1 - 31 January 2005

ICRC's activities on behalf of the tsunami victims

The undersea earthquake and the tsunami that followed caused large-scale devastation and loss of life in Indonesia. The scale of the disaster has called for the combined efforts of all components of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, including the ICRC.

The ICRC, which was already present in the province of Aceh because of the conflict, was able to provide a rapid response to the catastrophe, already having a substantial team of relief, medical, water and habitat personnel in Indonesia (including an office in Banda Aceh.) Staffing levels have been reinforced over the last weeks to allow the ICRC to meet emergency needs in Banda Aceh, Aceh Bessar as far as Lhoksomawe on the east coast.

Immediate response

In the hours after the tsunami, volunteers from the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), supplied with equipment by the ICRC, began the task of helping to recover bodies.

On December 28, the ICRC also provided 1,000 tarpaulins and 1,800 family relief kits that the PMI distributed to survivors. In addition, the ICRC provided medical supplies for two hospitals in the provincial capital Banda Aceh.

The following day, a plane carrying ICRC specialists and additional supplies arrived in Banda Aceh. This team has been working closely with the PMI to respond to the needs of the victims.

To support its work in Aceh, the ICRC set up a logistics base in Singapore with the support of the Singapore Red Cross Society and the authorities. The Norwegian government has provided aircraft for the operation.

Assistance

In the initial phase of the relief operation, the ICRC provided emergency food aid to more than 6,500 people in more than 40 camps for the displaced as well as for many more able to stay in their homes. Other humanitarian actors are now able to meet food requirements.

Essential household items, such as tarpaulins, blankets, jerry cans and soap have now been distributed and will have reached 300,000 people by the end of this week.

Medical care

Since the disaster, the ICRC has delivered essential medical supplies, including drugs and dressings, to two hospitals in Lhokseumawe as well as 20 health facilities along the eastern coast between Banda Aceh and Lhoksomawe. First-aid kits have also been supplied to the PMI.

In mid-January, a 100-bed ICRC field hospital opened in Banda Aceh. It is staffed by over 30 medical specialists from the Norwegian Red Cross and other National Societies and by locally hired medical and support personnel. Since its opening, up to 1'500 outpatients were treated and over 100 admitted.

The hospital consists of 25 tents and covers needs in surgery, gynaecology, maternity and paediatrics. A new 70'000 litre tank supplies clean water for the hospital.

Since 21 January, the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) is operating an ambulance service in Banda Aceh and Aceh Bessar. The ambulances are on call 24 hours a
day.

The ICRC is also setting up a camp inside a nearby stadium for up to 400 discharged patients and their relatives, where follow up medical services will be provided.

Water and Sanitation

The ICRC is supplying 24,000 litres of drinking water a day to Banda Aceh and continues to monitor the situation of those in temporary displacement camps. The Banda Aceh water board was supplied with chemicals for one month.

Once people are transferred to longer-term shelter, the ICRC plans to step up its activities in the provision of water and improved sanitation facilities.

Family Links

In the aftermath of the disaster, the ICRC took the lead within the Movement with regard to restoring contacts between separated family members. Immediately following the disaster, the ICRC set up a website www.familylinks.org providing information for people concerned about loved ones.

Mobile teams are also collecting information on "I am alive" forms (over 1'700 so far) or "Persons sought" forms (over 2'700 so far) and displaying lists in public places and making them available for broadcast. Red Cross messages have also been collected and exchanged and unaccompanied children registered.

Satellite phones have also been made available for people to call their relatives. Over 600 calls were made so far.

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