Rain and power blackouts hamper aid delivery at Indonesian earthquake zone

On Saturday, an earthquake of 6,2 magnitude shook Java island in Indonesia. More than 5,000 people died, according to UN agencies, around 20,000 people had been injured and some 200,000 people left homeless.

The epicentre has been reported close to the town of Bantul (two hours by car from Yogyakarta). Most affected areas are Bantul, Yogyakarta and Klaten. Since Saturday, there have been more than 450 aftershocks

About 35,000 buildings in and around Yogyakarta were reduced to rubble


After a first assessment done Sunday on the Yogyakarta General Hospital, the first MSF team at the earthquake zone decided to move the heavily affected areas around Bantul, the epicentre of the earthquake. Bantul area is divided in 17 sub districts, amongst them, seven have been heavily damaged by the quake. In that area, around 2,000 people died, 1,400 have been severely injured and 1,600 are light wounded.

In Bantul area, at least 10 camps have been set up, but most of the homeless refused to leave what few possessions they had managed to salvage. Most are poor farmers and labourers.

MSF teams are currently identifying the best areas where care for the wounded can be provided. Yesterday (Monday) a team visited the seven most damaged districts in Bantul area and found that local health structures are in need of medical supplies, medical staff and tents to house patients. Drugs and medical material have been donated to hospitals and to the Indonesian Red Cross.

Power blackouts and overnight rain hampered rescue work and heaped misery on people who left their homes. In addition to the difficulties caused by damaged infrastructure, heavy rains in the area are delaying deliveries of food and hampering rescue operations and many people have been forced to return to damaged homes to seek shelter. Most of the initial response to the disaster has been carried out by the local rescue workers and medical personnel.

The airport of Yogyakarta has been reopened. MSF is waiting for further information on landing capacity before sending cargo by air directly to the region.

MSF activities: MSF staff present in the area: 35 staff consisting of surgeons, doctors, nurses, psychologists, logisticians, water and sanitation experts.

Tomorrow, three mobile clinics will start working in Bantul area.

A complete surgical team as well as additional medical staff and logisticians arrived yesterday in Yogyakarta.

The mental health team composed by two psychologists arrived yesterday in the area and today they start to assess needs in Klaten area. Another mental health team composed by three psychologists is on stand-by.

Cargos: A full charter leaving Bordeaux is en route with approximately 35 tons of medical supplies, a field hospital, generators, tents and non-food items for about 2,000 families. Wednesday evening another cargo with 28 tons of medical and logistical supplies will leave from Ostend.