Indonesian Tsunami

Action Against Hunger Responds

On 18th July, a tsunami hit Indonesia's Java Island. According to current figures, 547 people were killed, 323 people are still missing and 50,756 people have been displaced. Action Against Hunger carried out a needs assessment and has initiated water programs in three villages, assisting 5,000 people.

“Since Monday, more than 50 aftershocks have hit the region and an earthquake struck the surrounding areas of Jakarta. People displaced by the disaster fear another tsunami and are not yet moving back to their homes, even if not destroyed. According to Marc Lallet, who carries out the needs assessment, destruction is great: in the three villages in the Ciamis district, where Action Against Hunger is implementing its programs, more than 1,000 houses have been destroyed and 4,100 people are without shelter.

Local solidarity in terms of food provision has been great but problems related to water access remain: in some villages, wells are contaminated with sea water. Action Against Hunger will install water tanks in three villages, clean wells and monitor the quality of water.

The last earthquake has increased the activity of the Merapi volcano (Yogjakarta). In addition to the humanitarian response to the tsunami it is therefore paramount to monitor the volcano's activities, to reconstitute emergency stocks and to put into place contingency plans to prevent another humanitarian catastrophe.

Indonesia's early warning system is not yet fully running: although warnings appeared on some internet sites, warnings did not reach most people in the affected areas. Java Island is the most developed of the Indonesian archipelago. Last year, more than 750 tremors occurred in the country and other less-developed Indonesian provinces are equally exposed to telluric risk.