Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Aid reaches remote Indonesian villages after earthquake

Aid is finally reaching remote villages in Indoneasia after the September 30th earthquake. The earthquake caused mudslides that swept away entire villages. Many remote areas were cutoff to assistance as many roads were swept away.

From this Associated Press article that we found at Toronto's 680 News, writer Eric Talmadge says that many survivors are seeing aid workers for the first time in their lives.

House after house in the village of Lubuk Laweh lay toppled, their owners scrounging through them for tarps and other belongings. Children ran into the street crying "please, help me" as a truck convoy of food and water supplies rattled in.

Large parts of the provincial capital of Padang and nearby villages were destroyed in the Sept. 30 quake. The official death toll was 704 but could reach into the thousands. About 180,000 buildings - half of them homes - were severely damaged or flattened, Indonesia's Disaster Management Agency said.

Aid workers handed out bottled water and packets of instant noodles in the village in the first major aid delivery to reach it. The road to the village had been blocked by debris.

Aid workers from at least 20 countries are descending on West Sumatra, including the largest contingent of U.S. military since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed around 130,000 people in nearby Aceh province.

Like most of Indonesia, West Sumatra province had no functioning health system even before the quake and an influx of international aid has prompted all sorts of people to seek help.

"We have treated nearly 400 people in the past four days," said Yoshi Kazu Yamada, the deputy of a Japanese medical team in Padang Pariaman district, where about 100 people were lining up outside tents waiting for treatment.

"At first it was flesh wounds, but now it is more people seeking help for chronic conditions like diabetes," he said. "These problems were not caused by the quake, but they need care."

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