Emergency assistance to the victims of the earthquake of 27 May in Java, Indonesia


Location of operation: INDONESIA
Amount of Decision: EUR 6,500,000.-
Decision reference number: ECHO/IDN/BUD/2006/04000

Explanatory Memorandum

1 - Rationale, needs and target population.

1.1. - Rationale:

On Saturday 27 May 2006 at 05:54 local time (26 May 2006, 22:54 GMT), an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 on the Richter Scale hit a densely populated area in the Province of Yogyakarta on the southern coast of Java, Indonesia(1). The epicentre was located at 8.26=B0S and 110.3=B0E, approximately 37.2 km south of the city of Yogyakarta, at a depth of 17 km beneath the seabed. The earthquake hit eight districts within Yogyakarta province and the neighbouring Central Java province, severely damaging housing and infrastructure. The two worst-affected districts were Bantul, in the Province of Yogyakarta, and Klaten in the Province of Central Java.

As of 15 June, the earthquake had caused 5,749 deaths. The number of injuries stood at 38,568. The initial national and international response to the earthquake was sufficient to cover most of the life-saving needs. The emergency preparedness measures that had been put in place to assist the population evacuated from areas neighboring the Mount Merapi Volcano (60 km away from the epicenter and in maximum eruption alert status since mid-May) were instrumental in facilitating a successful primary emergency response to the earthquake.

However, as time progresses and the situation is better assessed, it emerges that the extent of the damage caused by the earthquake is more than double that of the initial estimates: 127,037 houses are completely destroyed, 179,159 have been heavily damaged and more than 250,000 have suffered light damage(2). More houses will have to be replaced and repaired than in Aceh and Nias at a total cost estimated to be 15% higher than the damage and losses caused by the tsunami(3). A full registration of people made homeless by the earthquake has not yet taken place, but it is already estimated that at least 1,173,742 people(4) have lost their homes. The overall damage is estimated at 3.1 billion USD by de Government of Indonesia(5). Total damage and losses are significantly higher than those caused by the tsunami in Sri Lanka, India and Thailand and are similar in scale to the earthquakes of Gujarat (2001) and in Pakistan (2005). As of 13 June 2006 donors had pledged EUR 111 million for emergency and reconstruction assistance(6).

The scale of the natural disaster was compounded by man-made failures to build earthquake resistant structures. Most of the private homes used low-quality building materials and many public buildings (including schools) also collapsed because of poor building standards. This calls for disaster preparedness measures to be taken into account in the emergency and reconstruction response.

The means deployed by the Government, local organizations and the international community have been considerable, but insufficient to cover the needs of the population once the immediate life-saving phase is over. An important percentage of the affected population is still living under conditions well below SPHERE standards, mainly in terms of shelter and sanitation. In addition, some cases of tetanus and communicable diseases have appeared. The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) has extended its appeal from EUR 8.2 million to EUR 24 million (54% covered so far(7)). The timeframe has been extended from 8 to 12 months and the number of beneficiaries from 200,000 to 325,000. The United Nations (UN) has approved an emergency response plan for USD 103 million (EUR 80.22 million).


(1) Source: US Geological Survey , USGS

(2) OCHA situation report 14 of 15 June quoting statistics from BAKORNAS (the National Coordinating Board for the Management of Disaster). BAKORNAS has stated that the data is provisional and will have to be checked by assessments currently being carried out by other Government specialized services. This process is expected to take at least one month.

(3) Preliminary damage and loss assessment. Yogyakarta and Central Java natural disaster. A report by Bappenas, the Provincial and local Governments of D.I. Yogyakarta, Central Java and international partners. June 2006.

(4) According to the Government of Indonesia the average number of persons per household is 4.8. Homeless population consists of those whose houses have been destroyed or are heavily damaged.

(5) Declaration of Minister of Development Mr. Paskah Suzetta on 13 June.

(6) Various sources compiled through internet search by DG ECHO Regional Support Office in Bangkok.

(7) IFRC. Indonesia Yogyakarta Earthquake: Appeal no. MDRID001, Operations Update no. 3 - Focus on the Mt. Merapi Volcano.