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Funds running low to help Indonesian quake victims

Funds running low to help Indonesian quake victims, UN warns

Just one month after a devastating earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Java, money is running out for essential food, water and education projects to reach the people worst hit by the disaster, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.

Initial contributions from donors were fairly limited, just 60 per cent of what was initially requested from the OCHA flash appeal, the agency’s spokesperson Stephanie Bunker said today. “When it comes to the recovery phase, that phase is more expensive and more protracted. It’s going to take time,” she added in an interview with the UN News Service.

Without funding extensions for food aid, the most vulnerable – mostly women and children – could go hungry as early as the end of July and not even half of the one million people made homeless by the earthquake will have received emergency shelter by that time.

Housing damage has exceeded initial estimates, with total reconstruction expected to take a minimum of two years.

“There’s also a concern about water and sanitation, which is critical to maintaining public health,” Ms. Bunker said. Funding for medical supplies and equipment as well as emergency toilets and clean wells is another top priority for the agency.

With school scheduled to start in mid-July, temporary schools and water facilities as well as teaching and learning materials are needed for more than 1,800 schools damaged or destroyed by the earthquake, OCHA estimates.

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