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UN prepares to help after deadly earthquake strikes Indonesia

2 September 2009 – United Nations agencies are preparing to take part in an emergency assessment mission on the Indonesian island of Java, where a massive earthquake struck today, killing at least 15 people and causing widespread damage to infrastructure.

The earthquake measured about 7.3 on the Richter scale when it hit the Tasikmalaya district of West Java about 2:55 p.m. local time, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Two serious aftershocks measuring 5.1 and 5.4 respectively were recorded within the next 90 minutes, and reports indicate the quake was felt as far north as the national capital, Jakarta, and as far east as the island of Bali.

OCHA reported that an inter-agency assessment team led by the Indonesian Government and backed by many UN agencies will start work at daylight tomorrow to assess the situation and determine the priority needs for the local population.

Staff from the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Food Programme (WFP), OCHA, the World Bank, the UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are expected to participate.

Initial assessments indicate that the most affected area in Tasikmalaya district is the Cipatujah sub-district, with 70 per cent of houses and other buildings reported to have collapsed in at least one village. But no significant damage has been reported in Tasikmalaya city.

Indonesian authorities have started dispatching emergency relief items, including tents, clothes, blankets, mats, family kits and cooking essentials.

 



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