Oxfam scales up response to deadly Indonesia earthquake and tsunami

Oxfam and partner organisations are scaling up their response to support 500,000 people after the Indonesian Government announced Monday that more than 2 million people may be affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi.

At least 840 people were killed and hundreds of houses and buildings have collapsed, according to the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency. The agency said the death toll is likely to be higher as local officials are now counting the bodies in local hospitals and places of worship.

Ancilla Bere, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Manager in Indonesia, said: "Oxfam is scaling up its response to reach 500,000 people with essential aid supplies like ready-to-eat food, water purification kits and shelter packs.

“The scale of the damage from the earthquake and tsunami is huge and there are fears many people are trapped under collapsed buildings like hotels and supermarkets. Search and rescue operations are ongoing."

"The disaster also damaged and destroyed a large number of houses and continuing aftershocks mean other people are scared to return to their homes. More than 300,000 people are thought to be homeless. A lack of access and communication still remains a big concern.”

Government agencies have started to work in the area to support survivors of the earthquake and the government of Indonesia has now officially requested international assistance.

Oxfam and local partners in the Humanitarian Knowledge Hub are mobilising staff and providing aid supplies.

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Notes to editors:

The Humanitarian Knowledge Hub is a network, established with the support of Oxfam in Indonesia, of 16 civil society organisations led by JEMARI Sakato. Oxfam in Indonesia has been working to strengthen the capacity of Humanitarian Knowledge Hub as the local force in disaster risk management. Together with Oxfam, the Hub also responded to the Lombok earthquakes in July.

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