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Oxfam emergency response team deployed to Sumatra earthquake zone in Indonesia

Oxfam is providing plastic sheeting for 1000 families for temporary shelter and housing repair as well as clothing for people in the disaster affected areas following the 8.4 magnitude earthquake in western Indonesia September 12.

The earthquake struck on the eve of Ramadan, with over 60,000 people affected along the western coast of Sumatra. Early reports are that seven people have been killed in the quake, with more than 100 injured.

Oxfam's Emergency Response Team and partners are already in the town of Bengkulu and are working with the Indonesian authorities to ensure that the most vulnerable receive help as soon as possible. Depending upon level of need, further assistance will include such things as plastic sheeting, hygiene kits and clean water supply to Bengkulu area and other vulnerable villages along the coast.

“We are trying to get to the Mentawai islands, located off the coast of Sumatra, where damage to houses, roads, buildings and infrastructure is large but reaching the people affected is going to be a huge challenge,” said Sebastian Fesneau, Humanitarian Response Coordinator for Oxfam in Indonesia.

Thirty-four earthquakes or aftershocks have been felt following the major quake - 24 measuring above 4.5 magnitude - in the past two days. More strong aftershocks are expected in the coming days, which is a concern for emergency crews who continue to search for dead and injured among damaged and destroyed buildings. Thousands of frightened residents will spend this evening sleeping outdoors, in fear of the aftershocks.

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