Oxfam is mounting a response to the 6.5 magnitude earthquake that hit the northern end of the Indonesian island of Sumatra near Banda Aceh yesterday morning.
Almost 100 people have been killed and more than 500 injured, according to local military officials.
Over 200 buildings have been destroyed and many of the people killed were asleep at the time of the earthquake.
Oxfam Australia’s Humanitarian Manager Meg Quartermaine said ongoing search and rescue attempts yesterday evening were hampered by nightfall and poor weather conditions.
“Oxfam’s local partners in Aceh have been carrying out emergency assessments; with aftershocks continuing on and reports of serious damage to some buildings and infrastructure, there is not a moment to waste,” Ms Quartermaine said.
“We will be distributing hygiene kits and tarpaulins, and have emergency response experts on stand-by to travel to the worst-affected areas if needed.
“Our priority now is to get an expert assessment of the earthquake’s impact in order to offer aid in the most appropriate and effective way to those people who are affected the most.
“We are coordinating with local authorities so that our actions are complementary to government agencies.”
Oxfam has been working with local and national partners in Indonesia since 1957 and responded to the deadly Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004, which was caused by a massive 9.1 magnitude earthquake off Aceh and devastated the provincial capital Banda Aceh.
Donations to support Oxfam’s emergency responses around the world can be made online at oxfam.org.au/icf or by calling 1800 034 034.
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