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Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka: Earthquake and Tsunami OCHA Situation Report No. 18

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Date: 14 Jan 2005

Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2005/0010
OCHA Situation Report No. 18
Earthquake and Tsunami
Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka

  • On 6 January 2005, the United Nations and its partners launched a Flash Appeal to respond to the urgent and immediate needs of the communities severely affected by the earthquake and tsunami. The Flash Appeal focuses on supporting people in Indonesia, Maldives, Seychelles, Somalia and Sri Lanka from January to the end of June 2005, and calls for USD 977 million to fund the critical work of some forty UN agencies and NGOs.
  • Latest figures as of 14 January 2005 are as follows:

Sri Lanka

(The figures quoted in this report are official government figures).



According to the Department of Social Affairs, the latest figures are as follows:

People killed: 110,229

People missing: 12,132

People displaced: 703,518

The UN Humanitarian Information Centre has developed a map of affected populations in Aceh and Northern Sumatra using data provided by the Executive Coordinating Unit for Disaster Management (SATKORLAK). (See map at; UNOHCI Occasional paper No 2, 13 January 2005).

The Indonesian Military (TNI) prepared 2 relocation sites near Meulaboh. There are continuing concerns about the number of people planned for each site and about the type of shelter being provided.

The relief operation in Meulaboh has geared up: an office is being established, and health, water and sanitation, child protection and food operations are underway. Around 30 international organisations are on the ground. The UN is also strengthening its capacity in Medan, which will be the logistical hub for relief efforts on the west coast.

Update by sector and UN response

City cleansing

UNDP is conducting rubble removal in Banda Aceh through the employment of some 310 people. UNDP and its partners are looking to expand capacity and speed threefold due to the huge amount of rubble remaining to be cleared. There is a shortage of skilled labour in the province. There are currently 602 (Government) heavy machines operating in Banda Aceh with just 714 operators. The number of operators is to be increased to a ration of 3 operators for each machine to allow for round-the clock removal. There is an urgent need for more efficient tasking of the fleet of heavy machinery and for management of volunteers.


Initial reports from UNICEF’s activities registering separated children suggest that around 12,000 children are unaccompanied. Early UNICEF assessments indicate that 560 schools have been destroyed and that around 40 percent of schools surveyed in 11 of 14 districts are affected to various degrees. The National Coordination Agency for Disaster Management (BAKORNAS) reports that a number of schools have started reopening near refugee camps. Limited infrastructures, lack of teachers, books, toys, clean clothes, water and sanitation facilities as well as a child friendly curriculum for the emergency situation remain key challenges. BAKORNAS also reports that 1,538 teachers are dead or missing. Government of Indonesia (GoI) is planning accelerated recruitment of emergency teaching staff from outside Aceh and Northern Sumatra. The UN is supporting the Ministry of Education’s efforts to restart schools as quickly as possible. Logistical challenges will be significant, but arrangements are still on track for recommencement by end of January 2005.


UNDAC environmental expert is being deployed in collaboration with the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit to join the UNDAC team and to conduct a rapid assessment of acute environmental problems that have immediate impact on human lives and welfare.

Food and Non-food items

As of 12 January 2005, the IOM Medan operation has approximately 213 trucks operating between Medan and Banda Aceh. So far 13 convoys have been transporting relief goods, fuel,and medical equipment. An overland cargo convoy of trucks was deployed from Jakarta towards Medan opening the Jakarta-Medan 1,900 kilometer route. WFP is now feeding at least 300,000 people in all of Aceh province. This includes more than 30,000 people in scattered groups on the hardest-hit western coast of Aceh; 110,000 people in Banda Aceh and Aceh Besar and 160,000 displaced people registered in camps along the north-east coast of Banda Aceh. WFP hopes to reach 400,000 people by the end of next week. BAKORNAS reports that an emergency team for food distribution was established in Banda Aceh on 11 January. Indonesian Military (TNI) is assisting the Department of Social Affairs with food distribution.


The Government indicated that out of 240 clinics in the province, 30 were destroyed, 77 seriously damaged, 40 with medium or minor damage. Information regarding the status of facilities should be available next week. With WHO support, the health Early Warning System (EWS) has now been in operation for a week, and an increasing number of agencies are reporting to it. An assessment of critical stockpiling for disease outbreaks is underway. The EWS so far indicates no major disease outbreaks. Measles immunization campaigns are being implemented in Aceh and Medan. Agencies have accelerated activities after the discovery of several suspected measles cases – now under investigation – in Bierun and Lhok. A Joint GoI-UN health assessment on the western coast is now underway, with participants from NGOs, UN agencies and Ministry of Public Health. The six-day assessment will cover 48 sites. In Banda Aceh, health sector coordination arrangements are being refined, with sub-groups established to focus on specific issues such as measles and reproductive health. WHO has reported an increase in cases of malaria in the city. In collaboration with WHO, IOM is providing immediate treatment and appropriate referrals to patients evacuated by the US navy helicopters, and follow up on the hospitalised patients and provide follow up care in the IDP camps as well as distributing non prescription drugs to inaccessible populations in the west coast of Aceh. In coordination with WHO and the authorities of the provincial government, IOM is identifying the needs and facilitating the dispatch of Field hospitals arriving in Banda Aceh through bilateral contributions of Governments. UNFPA sent 4 trucks carrying 18 tons of equipment and supplies for maternity care to Aceh province. Contents range from simple supplies for safe and sanitary home deliveries to hospital equipment needed to re-establish emergency obstetric care.


According to FAO’s preliminary assessment, about 70 percent of the small scale fishing fleet (affecting around 42,000 families) has been destroyed in Nanggroe Aceh Darusalam. It is estimated that 60 percent of the local fisher folk have been killed. 1,000 fish cage farms were completely destroyed. FAO and the Government are continuing with assessments, and developing a strategy to rehabilitate the sector.


Air Operations:

Congestion of airports: no progress (and in spite of the fact that the airport of Medan is open again to bigger aircrafts). Obtaining slot times at Banda Aceh airport remains problematic (too many air planes arriving).

UNJLC advocates that land and sea alternatives should be used to try to bring down the continuing congestion. Among others, UNJLC is studying whether commodities could be forwarded by sea (instead of air) from the Subang International Air Hub, and is conducting an assessment of Banda Aceh’s main port at Kreung Raya, which might be rehabilitated and at least partially operational in a short time.

The Government of Indonesia has approved the use of the airfield at Sabang on Weh Island for military operations in support of relief efforts (north of Banda Aceh, where the airfield of Mainum Saleh, can receive planes up to C-130 type). Australians are assessing facilities available. UNJLC foresees that this airfield could replace Banda Aceh as a base for aid destined to the West coast of Sumatra.

Transport by road:

Available roads from Jakarta to Medan now also start to be congested. Concern is raising about the potential deteriorations of the roads and bridges around Medan due to the increase in heavy traffic and the use of unsuitable (oversize) trucks. This might hinder future aid distribution. IOM is planning departure of its convoys by night to alleviate some of the traffic.

Port facilities:

The UNJLC is currently conducting an assessment of Banda Aceh’s main port at Kreung Raya; early indications suggest the strategically important facility can be rehabilitated.

Shelter and Infrastructure

IOM continues to receive, register and assist displaced persons arriving in Jakarta from Banda Aceh by flight. The IOM assistance consists of getting those who request aid safely over to the Government’s available welfare system. A similar IOM assistance arrangement has been initiated in Medan where a larger exodus of displaced persons is arriving by air. UNHCR is preparing a matrix of the capacities of agencies working on IDP settlements and shelter issues. The Government announced that private contractors will be constructing the relocation sites under the technical supervision of the Public Works Office, with assistance from UN agencies and NGOs. Barracks are being constructed in East-Aceh by the GoI, two out of three are ready for occupation. UNDP’s Emergency Shelter Provisions Initiative distributed 390 family tents and 39 large service tents to IDPs in and around Banda Aceh through local NGO partners.

Water and Sanitation

Initial reports from Meulaboh indicate improved quality of water, with water purification and distribution systems in place, including cleaning of wells. The Ministry of Public Works, Islamic Relief, Palyja and Oxfam outlined a plan to sub-divide the districts with responsibilities taken by each agency for planning and tracking deliveries. A system for mapping water needs is underway to develop a more detailed response plan. The water and sanitation Working Group will prioritize acceleration of sanitation coverage through the construction of emergency latrines. A tally of latrines built by agencies so far indicated approximately 130 units in the Banda Aceh/Aceh Besar area, or a ratio of roughly 1 unit per 1,000 IDPs. UNICEF has funded Public Works to built 60 units over the next week. Trucking water to IDP settlements, hospitals and other areas without adequate water supply has been another top priority in this sector over the past week.


Accommodation (housing and office space) in Banda Aceh and Medan is saturated. Rents have increased dramatically.

The transport of personnel between Jakarta, Medan and Banda Aceh remains problematic.

Language barriers slow down relief operations (few translators available).

Coordination mechanisms

To strengthen its capacity to manage and coordinate the response in Aceh and Northern Sumatra, BAKORNAS announced the establishment of a National Command Post Management of Disaster in Aceh and North Sumatra. A copy of the Stipulation outlining duties and structure can be found at

The Government of Indonesia has clarified travel arrangement procedures for foreign aid organisations and media in Aceh. Prior to travel outside of Greater Banda Aceh or Meulaboh, organizations will need to register at the Foreign Affairs desk at the Governor’s Mansion, and the requests will be processed by the Aceh regional Police Chief.



The Government notes that the overall situation in Maldives is serious but not critical. The confirmed death toll is at 81 and 21 people are missing. In the recent days corpses have been seen floating in the ocean and have been washing ashore, particularly the central atolls. Samples have been taken for DNA analysis.

Update by sector and UN response


Further to a request from the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit environmental expert on the UNDAC team will prolong his mission until 17 January 2005. He will complete the environmental assessment that will be part of the United Nations, World Bank and Asian Development Bank Joint Needs Assessments to form the basis for the budget for the Maldives until 2008. The Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit expert of the UNDAC team completed a draft report of the Rapid Environmental Assessment of the Maldives, which will be disseminated widely to partners. The main conclusions of this report indicate that there is no major environmental emergency as a result of the tsunami. However, areas of concerns have been identified and priorities include emergency waste management. Some potential medium and long-term environmental impacts have also been identified and all information has been shared with development agencies as well as UNEP.


WFP is planning to link the distribution of biscuits along with UNICEF school kits with the reopening of schools on 25 January 2005. WFP will meet with the Minister of Education to formalize the operational plan for the distribution of biscuits. It is planned to feed some 25,000 school children.


UNFPA is supporting the Ministry of Health and working with the other UN agencies to assess the impact of the disaster on health services and to develop a comprehensive plan for relief and rehabilitation. An expert on health in emergency situations from International Centre for Migration and Health (ICMH) is currently on mission in Raa Atoll in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. Islands to be visited include Maduwari, Kandholhudhoo, Rasgatheemu, Hulhudhufaaru and Ugoofaaru. During the field visit, a gynaecologist from the Government hospital IGMH will undertake checkups on expectant mothers. The ICMH Expert will debrief relevant stakeholders on his observations and recommendations upon his return.

Logistics, transport, communication

Logistical problems continue to remain a serious issue. The Government does not have sufficient vessels to transport goods. The GoM and UNDAC have requested landing crafts and several member states have indicated that they will provide them. US Military forces are due to arrive in the coming days. They may be able to assist with heavy lift helicopters and landing craft. WFP has volunteered to be the focal point for UN logistics in the Maldives. UN agencies in the coming weeks are expecting an increased amount of cargo which will need to be distributed. WFP is undertaking a logistics assessment mission between 13-15 January 2005 to review food distribution systems and warehouse capacity in the atolls.


Five islands still remain without power but these are all evacuated islands and the process is underway to restore electricity to these islands A British military contingent have began servicing generators on the islands.

Psychosocial support

UNFPA is also supporting an outreach programme to Gaafu Alifu Atoll to provide the necessary psychosocial interventions. Currently a counselling team is active in Thaa Atoll and the team from Raa Atoll returned on the 12 January 2005.

Water and Sanitation

10-12 islands have are still reporting water shortages (i.e., supplies of less then one week), but all islands have at least 3-4 days supply.

Needs and Requirements

In order to ensure that appropriate aid and quantities are sent to the country, please consult with the Government’s Crisis Task Force through the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s Department of External Resources:


WFP reiterates its concern that overall logistics of small quantities of humanitarian aid remains a serious problem in the country as the population is dispersed over 200 islands and scattered over 900 kms. The Government does not have sufficient vessels to transport goods.

Coordination mechanisms

The GoM reiterated that manifests for aid shipments be sent to the Government well in advance to ensure more efficient processing and reduce bottlenecks. There is limited warehouse storage capacity at the airport. Please send manifests in advance to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of External Resources:; fax: +960 317 592; copied to the Task Force’s Aid Coordination Unit: and UNDP’s focal point for logistics:

The President has established a board to oversee the management of the Tsunami Relief and Reconstruction Fund. The board is mandated with ensuring transparency and accountability in the management of the funds.

Sector working groups have been established for health, water and sanitation, education shelter and nutrition. The groups are led by GoM and include UN agencies, NGOs and the IFRC.



As of 13 January 2005, figures were as follows:

People killed: 30,899

People missing: 6,034

People displaced: 425,620

Sectoral update and Response


UNICEF continues to work with the Ministry of Education (MoE) to develop a strategic plan to improve the national education system during reconstruction. UNICEF received a request from the MoE to contribute to: 1) the design of child-friendly schools; 2) the reconstruction of destroyed schools in selected districts of both the North and South; 3) education psychosocial activities for affected children and women. UNICEF ordered 6,000 plastic tables and 15,000 plastic chairs for children in grades 1 and 2. In Trincomalee, UNICEF will install three school tents recently dispatched from Colombo. In Batticaloa, the Battitown Zonal Department of Education (ZDE) will distribute 350 school uniforms. In Jaffna, uniform material for 200 students is being sewn by the local Widow’s Society.


The Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit continues to undertake its activities in accordance with its mandate, which is mobilization and coordination of urgent international assistance to countries affected by environmental emergencies and natural disasters with significant environmental impacts.

The Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit expert working with the UNDAC team continued to conduct extensive field visits to Ampara, Galle and Trincomalee districts to assess environmental impacts of the tsunami on livelihoods. First results from this assessment show that there are critical issues of solid waste management, sanitation, salinization of field and wells that needed immediate attention. This expert also held several substantial discussions with governmental authorities both at the national and district levels to ensure that those critical environmental issues are properly addressed.


In Trincomalee district (east), WFP staff visited camps in Kuchchawalli on 11 January 2005. It appears that the number of people living in camps has decreased by over 50 percent between 8 to 11 January, as people have moved in with families or returned to areas of origin.


UNFPA reported that 12,000 home delivery kits have been sent to distribution points in a number of devastated districts. Equipment and supplies to ensure safe childbirth are being provided to district hospitals and health centres, along with contraceptives and drugs for treating sexually transmitted infections. With UNFPA support, the Government of Sri Lanka and Sarvodaya (a national grassroots organization) have begun to distribute some 300,000 personal hygiene kits.

Protection and Psychosocial Support

With support from UNICEF, NCPA in collaboration with the Colombo University, is assessing the needs of vulnerable children at the community level. Psychosocial activities are taking place in camps in many districts. In Jaffna, UNICEF distributed play material for 11 children’s clubs. In Killinochchi, UNICEF, together with local partner Annai Illam, is supporting recreation.

Shelter and non-food items

IOM reported that IDP registration is progressing in the camps. In Matara, 4,700 families have been registered with a further 2,000 to be completed. In Batticaloa registration is completed in Kaluwanchikudy and Kattankudy divisions. The Government of Sri Lanka appealed for 35,000 additional family tents to accommodate IDPs. UNICEF has pledged to increase its supply from 5,000 to 10,000 tents. On 12 January 2005, 750 tarpaulins were distributed to Kattankudy and to Karalaipattu North (Batticaloa) and 291 Non-Food Relief Items packs were distributed in Kinniya.

Transport and logistics

IOM is providing transportation and logistical support to the Sri Lankan Ministry of Heath to transport medicines and medical equipment from Bandaranaike International Airport to different locations in the country. IOM also supports the Prime Minister’s Office in transporting cargo. A further 20 trucks are made available to the Ministry of Social Service’s requirements for transport assistance. Colombo port is functioning, however, congestion is reported due to naval relief vessels berthing inside the port. There are also some delays for container vessels due to offload time (approx. 3 to 4 days). Damaged roads continue to hamper access to some areas. The UNJLC component in Sri Lanka has expanded to include customs, air coordination, commodity tracking and general logistics staff.

Water and Sanitation

UNICEF is currently compiling all information about water and sanitation activities in the districts and will produce a country overview matrix of all activities being undertaken in that sector. The following infrastructure activities were completed as of 12 January: a) Ampara: total latrines constructed: 141; b) Jaffna: seven 500-liter tanks were provided to five re-opened schools; c) Matara: close to 800 wells in Matara, Weligama, Dickwella, and Devinuwara divisions are being cleaned with the support of local authorities and the MoH; d) Trincomalee: 24 prefabricated toilets were installed in camps in Eachilampatu.


The Combined Support Force (CSF-536) has its headquarters in U-Tapao, Thailand with three Combined Support Groups (CSGs) located in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Request for Assistance (RFA) forms for movement of cargo, people and other required assistance and the Guidance Paper are posted on Reliefweb, on the Virtual OSOCC under the Civil Military discussion group. A Regional Civil Military Coordination Cell has been established with the Combined Support Force.

The airport of Subang in Malaysia is available for accepting strategic airlifts. Ground handling and storage will be available. Parking space is sufficient for four wide-bodied aircrafts. Slot times will be coordinated by UNJLC.

The United Nations Joint Logistics Center (UNJLC) is providing an overview of operations for this disaster, particularly for Indonesia, Maldives and Sri Lanka. The latest report is available at its website:


Updates on contributions to this disaster may be found on the Financial Tracking Service (; or, click “Financial Tracking” at the top of the ReliefWeb page for this disaster). Donors are requested to verify this table and inform OCHA Geneva of corrections/additions/values. Donors are encouraged to notify OCHA Geneva of their contributions to this disaster using the OCHA Standardized Contributions Recording Format, available electronically on the above-mentioned FTS website.

Together with further information on other ongoing emergencies, this situation report is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at

Aid agencies are encouraged to use the Virtual On-Site Operations Coordination Centre (OSOCC) at to share information on assistance and coordinate activities.

Tel. +41-22-917 1234
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23/06 28

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers:

Mr. Rudi Mller/Ms. Caroline Pguet
Direct Tel. 41-22-917 3131 / 1836

Press contact:
(GVA) Ms. Elisabeth Byrs, direct Tel. ++41-22-917 26 53
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. +1-917 367 51 26
(N.Y.) Mr. Brian Grogan, direct Tel. +1-212-963 11 43

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