Saturday 22 July 2017

At least 45,000 left homeless as rescue operations near end following Indonesia quake

A cart driver rests in front of a building which collapsed following this week's strong earthquake in Pidie Jaya, Aceh province, Indonesia, December 10, 2016. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside
A cart driver rests in front of a building which collapsed following this week's strong earthquake in Pidie Jaya, Aceh province, Indonesia, December 10, 2016. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Stephen Wright

At least 45,000 people have been displaced by the powerful earthquake that hit Indonesia's Aceh province.

The estimated number of homeless people continues to grow as relief efforts fan out across the three districts near the epicentre of Wednesday's magnitude 6.5 quake, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

"The basic needs of refugees must be met during the evacuation," the agency said in statement.

Humanitarian groups are co-ordinating their efforts from a main command post in the worst affected district of Pidie Jaya, the agency said.

At least 100 people were killed and hundreds injured in the quake, which also destroyed or damaged more than 11,000 buildings, mostly homes but also several hundred mosques and schools.

The displaced are staying in temporary shelters and mosques or with relatives.

Sniffer dogs are again being used in the search for bodies and possible survivors in the devastated town of Meureudu, where a market was largely flattened. Four other locations in Pidie Jaya are also the focus of search efforts.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo travelled to worst-hit areas of the province on Friday and promised to rebuild communities.

Australia's government said on Saturday it will provide a million Australian dollars of humanitarian aid through the Indonesian Red Cross.

Foreign minister Julie Bishop said Australia is ready to respond to additional requests for assistance from the Indonesian government..

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