Indonesia earthquake: DEC appeal launched as British and other international aid arrives on devastated island

Relief workers from UK land on ground in Sulawesi as supplies head for disaster-hit region

Tom Barnes
Thursday 04 October 2018 09:50 BST
Drone footage shows devastation following Indonesia tsunami

British aid agencies have launched a joint fund raising appeal for survivors of the deadly Indonesian earthquake and tsunami, as supplies begin to arrive on the ground.

More than 1,500 people are thought to have died, while many more are missing and injured following the powerful 7.5-magnitude tremor which sent huge waves barrelling into the island of Sulawesi last week.

The majority of casualties are thought to be from the city of Palu, home to more than 380,000 people.

Rescuers are still struggling to reach some communities devastated by the disaster almost a week on.

A team of six UK humanitarian experts left London for Sulawesi earlier this week, and are now helping to coordinate the humanitarian response on the ground.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Indonesia Tsunami Appeal, which is being launched this week, comes as authorities fear that casualties and the number of people who have been displaced will rise within days.

Some estimates suggest up to 1.5 million people may have been affected.

“DEC member charities and their local partners are working closely with the Indonesian authorities to get aid to those who urgently need it, as well as helping survivors to cope with the trauma of the last few days,” DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said. “As the full scale of the disaster unfolds, they are providing emergency relief and are ready to help devastated communities to rebuild their lives.

“There is an urgent need for clean drinking water, food, medical care and shelter. Please give generously and let's save the survivors.”

Volcano Mount Soputan, also in North Sulawesi has also erupted, spewing ash nearly 20,000ft into the sky and prompting warnings over volcanic ash in the air and hampering aid efforts.

International development secretary Penny Mordaunt has said that thousands of shelter kits, solar lanterns and water purifiers are being sent to the disaster zone.

“It's essential we get vital UK aid supplies, including shelter kits, to those affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia as quickly as possible,” Ms Mordaunt said. “This is extremely challenging given the devastation. The UK is a leader in providing emergency humanitarian assistance when disaster strikes and our expertise will help greatly.”

The supplies will be used in a bid to aid the more than 70,000 people forced to flee their homes.

Equipment set for delivery includes 1,300 shelter kits, which can accommodate five people each, 2,300 water purifiers and 1,000 solar lanterns.

Ms Mordaunt has also pledged an extra £1m in aid to support immediate relief efforts on the ground, taking the UK assistance to £3m.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the appeal can do so via the DEC website, the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, or over donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office. A £5 donation can also be made by texting SUPPORT to 70000.

Additional reporting by PA

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