Oxfam Now Assisting 20,000 People in Aftermath of Earthquake

By Oxfam

Oxfam's emergency teams are now providing clean water and essential supplies to an estimated 20,000 people made homeless by the Yogyakarta earthquake.

Seventy-two hours after a powerful earthquake struck central Java near Yogyakarta, Oxfam is rapidly scaling up our response. Teams have been installing water tanks at three hospitals and distributing tarpaulins for temporary shelters.

Crowded, makeshift camps are springing up around hospitals and elsewhere in the stricken region; Oxfam is providing these displaced communities with clean drinking water and hygiene kits in order to prevent the outbreak and spread of deadly waterborne disease.

Despite miserable weather conditions and torrential rain, many survivors are afraid to return to their homes, as small-scale aftershocks continue to rumble across the region.

Much concern is focused on Mount Merapi, the volcano overlooking Yogyakarta, where volcanologists have observed marginally increased levels of activity following several months of high alert.

Oxfam has been playing a lead role in working with the Indonesian government, local authorities, and partner organizations to plan an emergency response in the event of an eruption. This preparation has enabled us to respond immediately to the earthquake-affected communities in and around Yogyakarta.

To ensure that we are able to meet the immediate needs of the earthquake survivors, we are also drawing supplies and expertise from Oxfam operations in Jakarta and Aceh, Indonesia, as well as West Timor and elsewhere in South Asia.

"As the expected influx of organizations in coming days brings much-needed aid to victims of the earthquake, it is vital that efforts are well-coordinated to ensure that appropriate aid reaches those people most in need," said David Macdonald, Oxfam's country program manager.

Oxfam is preparing an initial three-month disaster-response plan, which we hope to announce by mid-week.

"With estimates of 150,000 to 200,000 people homeless following the disaster, this is not going to be a quick-fix relief effort," said MacDonald. "Right now, the focus continues to be on emergency help -- but with a huge challenge ahead in coordinating the resources of agencies and governments to rebuild homes and rebuild lives."

Donations to help with the relief effort may be made to Oxfam America’s Indonesian Earthquake Fund.

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