Sumatra Earthquake: Oxfam on the ground

Emergencies, Media Releases article written on the 01 Oct 2009

International aid agency Oxfam is sending emergency response staff to Padang, Indonesia, after a devastating 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit the island of Sumatra last night.

Oxfam already has staff from local organisations Kabisat, PKBI, and Walhi who are in the earthquake hit area of West Sumatra and will distribute 2,400 tarpaulins to provide urgently needed shelter, as well as hygiene kits and clothing.

Oxfam’s Indonesia Humanitarian Program Manager Sebastian Fesneau said communications with the affected area were still difficult, but the scale of the tragedy means Oxfam is moving quickly to respond.

Reports from the earthquake zone suggest more than 1,000 people are feared dead, and buildings and roads have collapsed, making it difficult to access all the affected areas.

“We already have emergency equipment positioned in Padang, so we are immediately distributing that, and we have more emergency supplies that can be deployed quickly from elsewhere in Indonesia,” Mr Fesneau said.

“We will also be sending additional emergency staff from Jakarta to Padang to help respond.

“Oxfam has a very experienced emergency team based in Indonesia that was set up in the wake of the 2004 tsunami. Early indications of the scale of this disaster suggest that this will need to be a very significant response and we are preparing for that.

“Oxfam is working with closely with the Government and other agencies to ensure that we have a coordinated response that gets aid to where it is needed most as quickly as possible,” Mr Fesneau said.

To donate to Oxfam’s Asia-Pacific Disaster Appeal visit or phone 1800 088 110

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