World Vision prepares aid response amid Indonesia quake aftershocks

    
    -  Indonesia continues to be jolted by aftershocks after Wednesday's
       massive quake
    -  World Vision is preparing family kits for 2,000 families as its
       initial response
    

PADANG, Indonesia, Oct. 1 /CNW/ - World Vision is preparing emergency response to support thousands of children and families impacted by the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that shattered Indonesia on Wednesday.

The Government of Indonesia estimates that about 600,000 people have been affected. Officials place the death toll at 464, but say it could be in the thousands. The quake is expected to surpass the devastation caused by the Yogyakarta quake three years ago.

As rescue workers pull the dead from the rubble, World Vision's assessment team is preparing to care for survivors by surveying the impact of the disaster and rushing emergency supplies to the area. World Vision has already sent its first team of responders to Padang, West Sumatra--one of the worst-hit areas--and a second team will follow on Friday to set up an office on site. The capital of West Sumatra was reeling in chaos again on Thursday as the second earthquake, measuring 6.8 magnitude on the Richter scale, hit the region.

"With quakes like these it's not easy to immediately know the full extent of the impact. However, we do know that scores of children and their families will be sleeping outside in the rain tonight, with very little shelter, fearing another big quake," said Canadian Amelia Merrick, World Vision's Operations Director in Jakarta, Indonesia.

"Water is going to become a major concern. Children need safe drinking water and a place to bathe. We are also going to set up child-friendly spaces for children. The quake itself and the aftershocks that followed have been tremendously stressful for the children. These safe play spaces are going to give them a place to work through their emotions," said Merrick.

As its initial response, the relief, development and advocacy organization has allocated around $268,000 to purchase emergency aid packages and is planning to raise a total of US$1 million from World Vision offices worldwide.

World Vision is preparing 2,000 family kits consisting of tarpaulin, mat, sarong, blanket, bucket, toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, tissue, sanitary napkin and 750 packages for under five children, each consisting of baby oil, baby powder, toothbrush and tooth paste, soap and blanket. A total of 2,000 collapsible water containers are being airlifted to the quake zone on Thursday and are expected to be distributed soon.

"Many buildings have collapsed, including a hospital," said Enda Balina, World Vision's emergency communications officer in Padang. "We're afraid many people are trapped inside the rubble."

Padang's roads were congested with people fleeing the area amid the roar of sirens, as police and emergency personnel responded to the disaster, Balina said, adding that the city's airport was overwhelmed with crowds. Balina is a disaster response veteran, having worked for more than a year following the devastating Asia tsunami in December 2004.

Padang, a city of 900,000 people and has been overwhelmed by landslides, power outages and the lack of functioning health services, as many of the hospitals in the region have been damaged. Relief efforts are further hampered by small fires and rain that continues to deluge the area.

World Vision has skilled staff who have been managing major emergency and rehabilitation responses in Indonesia, such as in Aceh and Jogyakarta; and is now responding to West Java quake with relief programs in Pengalengan and Tasikmalaya.

"Although we are responding to disasters in other areas, as a relief and humanitarian organization we are committed to send best staff to respond to the disaster in West Sumatra," said World Vision Indonesia's National Director Trihadi. He added that World Vision will be working closely with the government and the people in the community to meet the needs of children and families.

World Vision is accepting donations to assist those affected by the crisis and also Southeast Asian countries affected by Typhoon Ketsana. Those wishing to help can visit WorldVision.ca or call 1-800-268-5528.

    
    -  World Vision has been working in Indonesia for 50 years. The
       organization works in 700 villages spreading from Nanggroe Aceh
       Darussalam to Papua provinces. World Vision donors support more than
       90,000 children through its programs, including 25,455 children
       supported by Canadians. World Vision does not have long-term community
       development programs where sponsored children reside in the Pandang
       area.

    -  World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy
       organization dedicated to working with children, families and
       communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all
       people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.
    

SOURCE World Vision Canada

For further information: For further information: To interview World Vision staff, please contact: Yoko Kobayashi, (905) 565-6200 ext. 2151, (416) 671-0086 (cell), yoko_kobayashi@WorldVision.ca; Alex Sancton, (905) 565-6200 ext. 3949, (416) 419-1321 (cell), alex_sancton@WorldVision.ca


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