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Indonesia starts building refugee camps JAKARTA - The United Nations said Wednesday that camps for up to 500,000 tsunami refugees will be built on devastated Sumatra island, while world leaders headed to Indonesia to discuss how to distribute billions of dollars in aid. Indonesia's government has started breaking ground on four camps around Banda Aceh, the main city in northern Sumatra, where an estimated 1 million people were left homeless by the tsunami. The United Nations plans to provide tents and equipment for up to 500,000, said Michael Elmquist, who heads the U.N. relief effort in Aceh.
The existing camps are overcrowded and lack facilities. Indonesian authorities have agreed the new camps will have clean drinking water and latrines, Elmquist said. "The camps that are here have been improvised by the people themselves," he said. "But these are definitely not according to our standards. The sanitation is totally insufficient." Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi were among the officials expected in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, for a summit on tsunami relief that begins Thursday, Indonesia time.
Already about $2 billion has been pledged from around the world to help the millions of victims rebuild from the Dec. 26 tsunami. There have been 140,000 confirmed deaths -- and the toll is expected to rise to at least 150,000 -- from the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that rattled the ocean floor and sent massive waves crashing across beachfront communities from southern Asia to Africa on Dec. 26. "I've been in war and I've been through a number of hurricanes, tornados and other relief operations, but I've never seen anything like this," Powell said Wednesday after flying over shattered apocalyptic landscapes on Indonesia's Sumatra island.
The United Nations has performed rapid assessments in countries hit by the tsunami, and Thursday's meeting aims to get donors to commit to specific aid and reconstruction projects, said Bo Asplund, U.N. representative in Indonesia. Topping the list of demands is Indonesia, Asplund said, with some $450 million required under a U.N. appeal for the country that suffered at least 94,200 deaths. Bringing together representatives of all the affected countries will allow aid officials to get commitments for relief for at least the next six months, said Elmquist.
The countries also hope to prevent similar disasters in the future by creating a warning system for tsunamis in the Indian Ocean. Leaders of nations in the regional ASEAN group will also talk about establishing a quick-response system to assist each other if a member country is hit by a natural disaster, said Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa. Another issue on the agenda will be possible debt relief to affected countries, many of which are developing nations that rely on international assistance. Britain's top treasury official has said the world's richest nations are likely to freeze debt repayments and may even forgive debts to countries hit by the tsunami.
Meanwhile, the fragility of relief efforts was underscored by the temporary closure Tuesday of the main, overstretched airport in Sumatra. On Wednesday, a load of aid supplies fell from a U.S. helicopter over the island's city of Medan, hitting a shopping mall. No one was hurt. Pilots, meanwhile, were ferrying survivors from hard-hit towns and villages in the region to medical help. But that created a new challenge for relief workers: bottlenecks at overcrowded hospitals.
About a dozen people lay on stretchers on the sidewalk outside Fakina Hospital in Banda Aceh. Many of the hospital's rooms had no power. Walls were flecked with blood and doctors had run out of stands for intravenous fluid bags, hanging them from cords strung across the ceiling. "It's heartbreaking," said Leslie Ansag of Everett, Washington, a Navy medic from the American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, which was off Sumatra to help the rescue effort.



Posted in Earthquake @ 05 January 2005 00:03 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

indahnesia.com lists all earthquakes that occur in Indonesia. For your convenience we display them in a list and a Google Map. It is as accurate and recent as you can imagine as we check for updates every few minutes. If an earthquake occurs in Indonesia, this is the place to check it out in the first place.






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