Indonesia Earthquake: CRS Makes Initial Commitment of $50,000

Indonesia_Quake_Kid in chair
A child sits in front of her family’s house, which collapsed during Wednesday night’s earthquake. Photo by Reuters.

As assessments are indicating that damage from Wednesday’s earthquake in Indonesia is more widespread than first reports indicated, CRS is committing an initial $50,000 to the emergency relief effort.

The 8.4-magnitude temblor that struck off the southern coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra island has been followed by more than 20 aftershocks, including one that was measured at magnitude 7.8.

Rich Balmadier, CRS country representative for Indonesia, said that with Thursday’s daylight and the reconnection of some phone lines, we are getting a clearer picture of the situation:

“Between the earthquakes and aftershocks, the damage seems to be more widespread than initially thought — along the coast from Bengkulu, up to Jambi, and reaching as far as Padang,” he said. “There’s a lot of information we don’t know about how this has affected people in the rural areas. We are concerned about the vulnerability in rural villages, where the houses are modest and less equipped to withstand massive impact.”

The timing of this disaster at the start of Ramadan in this predominantly Muslim country adds to the challenge of a recovery effort, which will involve many Indonesians working long days in tough conditions and on empty stomachs.

Today (Thursday) at least two of CRS Indonesia’s emergency staff are leaving for Bengkulu from their bases in Jakarta and Yogyakarta to support partners in the affected areas; other CRS aid workers based in the tsunami-affected area of Aceh — in the northern tip of the Sumatra island — are standing by, ready to be deployed.

CRS has long-standing partners in the quake zone that have staff rushing out to communities to gather information for a timely, efficient response. CRS manages programs from offices in Jakarta, Kupang, Yogyakarta, Medan, Meulaboh, and Banda Aceh, and has supported emergency and development programming in the country for 50 years.

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