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Aceh Quake Victims in Need of Aid as 50,000 Left Homeless

BY NURDIN HASAN (THE JAKARTA GLOBE)

Banda Aceh, TAG – Relief organizations continued to struggle to distribute aid in Central Aceh, a district hit hardest by last Tuesday’s magnitude 6.2 earthquake, as the National Disaster Mitigation Agency’s (BNPB) official death toll hit 40 on Sunday.

At least 31 people died in Central Aceh after the earthquake collapsed buildings and triggered landslides across the district. The BNPB said that 232 villages — some 66 percent — were directly affected by the quake, leaving some 48,500 residents displaced in Central Aceh, according to local officials.
Rescue crews continued to search for four people still missing and believed to be buried under a landslide in Serempah village, BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement on Sunday.
“It’s been quite difficult to find the missing victims because [they're believed to have been covered by] a 500-meter high landslide and because Serempah village sits between two steep hills,” Central Aceh district head Nasaruddin said.
The BNPB sent more than 40 tons of aid to Aceh, but efforts to distribute food, water and clothes have been hampered by residents refusal to gather at centralized locations, Nasaruddin said.
“People here do not like mingling with residents [from other villages] in a shelter,” he said. “So they built shabby tents in front of their destroyed or damaged homes.
“No wonder some [media] reports say quake victims haven’t received aid; they are scattered across a large area. But we are working hard to distribute the aid.”
Province-wide some 50,000 people remained homeless on Sunday, according to the BNPB. More than 2,300 victims were treated and released from area hospitals while 63 remained in treatment for injuries sustained during the quake. Nearly 16,000 houses and more than 600 public facilities were reduced to rubble.
In Bener Meriah, nine people were reportedly killed as buildings in eight of the 233 villages collapsed. Some 3,000 left their damaged homes behind and lack basic needs like warm blankets, shelter and baby food, Fauzi, the head of the Bener Meriah office of the BNPB, said.
“We really hope that donors, volunteers and the provincial and central governments can supply family tents for displaced people in Bener Meriah. They’re in a terrible situation.”[]
Aceh Quake Victims in Need of Aid as 50,000 Left Homeless Aceh Quake Victims in Need of Aid as 50,000 Left Homeless Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on July 07, 2013 Rating: 5

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