after three natural disasters indonesia needs help

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October 27, 2010

Since last Wednesday, Indonesia has been struggling to aid survivors after an earthquake, a tsunami and volcanic eruptions devastated separate parts of the country.

Considered a tropical paradise, Indonesia is home to the gorgeous island of Bali and draws tourists from all over the world to it's beautiful beaches. However, there is a large portion of the population already living at or below the poverty line, and it will take great resources to recover from these disasters.

The Quake and Tsunami

In the most damaged part of the Mentawai Islands, a rural community west of Sumatra, rescuers were still working two days after the 7.7-magnitude earthquake rocketed a 10 foot tidal wave into the vulnerable coastal villages. The same day a cargo plane loaded with nearly 16 tons of tents, food, medicine and clothing arrived in the area while helicopters landed in Sikakap, a town on North Pagai island, where the relief effort will be centralized, reports The Associated Press.

Ade Edward, the emergency head of West Sumatra Province's Disaster Management Agency, said at least 282 people were killed and 411 were missing, reports Reuters; however, thousands more have been misplaced. These numbers are still being calculated because rough sea conditions have prevented officials from obtaining a report from each island community.

Volcanic Eruptions

Simultaneously, aid workers 750 miles east on the island of Java provide essential water, food, and medicine to more than 13,000 people who were made homeless after Mount Merapi erupted, killing at least 30 people in the spewing hot gas, ash and debris that now coats the densely populated countryside, reports The New York Times.

The Damage Count

Back on the Mentawai Islands, aerial photographs show that much of the coastal land is flooded and the houses on higher ground have suffered severe damage from the waves and the quake.

"All along the coast, people have fled up into the hills because quakes are happening nearly on the hour," Mr. Edward said. "These quakes are forcing us to set up temporary shelters. It’s really tough work.

"There’s a risk of fresh water shortages and the problems that come with that, like diarrhea," he continued. "We still haven’t sent water purification kits. We’re still in the emergency needs phase in these first three or four days.

"Most of the people killed were Mentawai locals out to sea or on shore fishing. People on land felt the quake and ran to higher ground. The people at sea had no idea there was a quake."

In Java the volcano had been having a series of small eruptions Tuesday night, but many residents did not evacuate until the last possible minute.

How You Can Help
  • Oxfam International:

    Oxfam has funded local organizations in West Sumatra that are on aid missions in the Mentawai area ready to distribute emergency shelter, hygiene kits and clothing. Oxfam had aid prepared in this area for this type of disaster because Indonesia resides on the volcanic Pacific "Ring of Fire" and on seismically active fault lines. Get Involved with Oxfam today!.
  • Mercy Corps:

    In Indonesia Mercy Corps is dedicated to providing those affected by the natural disasters with fresh drinking water and other life-essentials. The organization is working with local officials to assess the damage and determine how Mercy Corps can be most effective in the short term as well as the long term recovery efforts. Mercy Corps has a history of helping Indonesia which has suffered many casualties from natural disasters especially on December 26, 2004 when the 9.1-magnitude quake sent a tsunami careening onto the archipelago and sweeping many people out to sea. Help Mercy Corps in Asia Pacific.
  • IDEP Foundation:

    This Indonesian non-profit organization is providing search and rescue, rapid assessments of outlying areas and keeping local and international efforts coordinated with officials and agencies in the wake of the quake and tsunami on the Mentawai Islands. Become inspired to help IDEP respond to the damage in Indonesia by lending your helping hand.

The following are survival stories from other natural disasters around the world:

Typhoon Megi in the Philippines

Millions of Tsunami Survivors Benefit from International Aid

Pakistan Flood Survivors In Need of International Aid

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