International agency Oxfam today delivered more emergency supplies by helicopter and boat to the Indonesia island of Nias, to aid survivors of a March 28 earthquake that killed hundreds of people and reduced many of its buildings to rubble.
The helicopter’s payload included 2,200 liters of diesel fuel, which will allow Oxfam to keep water pumps that supply clean water to the tens of thousands in the main city of Gunungsitoli up and running. Oxfam is already providing clean water for 10,000 people and aims to reach 20,000 people in the next few days.
“The water system in the main city was ripped apart by the earthquake,” said Oxfam aid worker Alex Renton. “Tens of thousands of very frightened people have lost their homes and are now living under plastic sheets. The fuel that was flown in today is a lifeline for the survivors because it will help keep the existing water pumps working until additional equipment from the UK arrives over the next few days.”
Some of the aid arriving on Nias today came by boat. Eight Oxfam trucks from Medan made the 6-hour boat journey to the remote island carrying a variety of critically required aid supplies, including 2,000 blankets, 5,000 jerry cans, clothes and shoes for 5,000 people, rice, cooking kits, tools and medical supplies.
Additional aid equipment worth nearly $1 million will leave the main Oxfam warehouse in Bicester, England, this evening. The supplies, including water tanks, pumps, and communications equipment, are scheduled to arrive on Sunday in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.
“Oxfam continues to evacuate people by helicopter who were critically injured by the quake,” Renton added. “Seventy percent of the buildings in the city have collapsed and many people on the island still need urgent assistance. Oxfam is already getting aid onto the ground and much more aid is on its way.”