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Indonesia: Red Cross Volunteers Respond to West Java Earthquake
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Cici Riesmasari, IFRC Communications Officer in Jakarta
September 3, 2009

In the wake of the strong earthquake that struck western Java on the afternoon of September 2, staff and volunteers of the Indonesian Red Cross were deployed immediately to provide emergency relief to survivors.

Indonesian quake
People clear debris from their collapsed houses in Ciamis after an earthquake hit West Java.
Kikin Kuswandi/Indonesian Red Cross

The 7.4 earthquake impacted 12 districts and municipalities in West Java. Tasikmalaya, Cianjur, Garut, and Bandung were the worst affected. According to the authorities 46 people died while hundreds have left their homes overnight, fearful of returning due to aftershocks. In Cianjur, the earthquake was followed by a deadly landslide which has left more than 40 people missing.

The Indonesian Red Cross or Palang Merah Indonesia (PMI) has dispatched 1,500 family tents, 3,000 tarpaulins, 5,000 blankets and sleeping mats as well as 1000 hygiene kits to the affected areas. Staff from the PMI national headquarters in Jakarta have conducted needs assessments on the ground and PMI branches in the area have activated their 24 hour disaster operation center.

"We're continuing to prepare more relief items that will be mobilized from our regional warehouse especially from Yogyakarta," says Arifin Muhammad Hadi, head of Disaster Management at PMI's headquarters.

In Tasikmalaya and Cianjur branch, Red Cross volunteers evacuated people and provided first aid for survivors. PMI Bandung branch erected platoon tents in Pangalengan sub-district, and distributed blanket to the survivors. Meanwhile in Garut, clean water was distributed to people in Pameungpeuk sub-district.

indonesian quake
An Indonesian Red Cross disaster expert collects information from survivors in their tents in the sub-district of Cigalontang, Indonesia. Many people slept outside overnight because they were still scared of the many aftershocks.
Wilman/Indonesian Red Cross

The national meteorological and geophysical agency reported that more than 39 aftershocks hit West Java after the earthquake yesterday. According to the National Disaster Management Agency 900 homes collapsed while 8,585 houses are severely damaged.

The American Red Cross has been working closely in Indonesia with the Indonesian Red Cross since the 2004 tsunami.  We have many staff on the ground working in the areas of water and sanitation, community health, and disaster management. The American Red Cross remains in close contact with the Asia/Pacific Regional Red Cross Disaster Management Unit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and is ready to respond with assistance as requested.

For more information or to setup interviews, please contact Eric Porterfield, Sr. Press Officer for the American Red Cross (porterfielde@usa.redcross.org or 202-701-3309).

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

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