Indonesia

Indonesia: Earthquake endangers children in Western Sumatra

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Following yesterday's major earthquake that struck the Indonesian island of Sumatra, a team of Save the Children staff is already on the ground ready to respond.

The aid agency is launching a joint assessment mission with Mercy Corps to the affected areas of Sumatra - the same island that suffered the highest number of fatalities in the December 2004 tsunami. Save the Children is evaluating the impact of the disaster on its programs throughout the island and assessing how best to support children and families in need.

The agency, which has been working in Sumatra for more than 30 years and which continues to assist thousands of children and families affected by the tsunami, reports that all agency staff members in the area are safe. Save the Children is coordinating with government officials, community leaders and local partners to address the needs of displaced children and families.

Toby Porter, Save the Children's Emergencies Director, said: "In any emergency, children suffer the most and the children of Indonesia have faced one disaster after another in recent years. Save the Children has worked in the country for a long time and is well prepared and well placed to come to the aid of those affected by this earthquake. We will be doing everything we can to help those most in need."

The 6.3-magnitude quake struck at mid-morning Indonesian time and was followed by a 6-magnitude aftershock. Homes and buildings have been flattened in Solok and Padang, located on the west-central coast of the island. Authorities report at least 70 dead and scores of injuries. Indonesia is located on the seismically volatile "Pacific Ring of Fire."

In addition to the tsunami, the nation has experienced frequent earthquakes and severe flooding in the last few years.

For more information please contact

Save the Children Communications and Information Manager Jon Bugge in Padang +62 812 1088 702
Kathryn Rawe Media Officer (Emergencies) on +44 (0)20 7012 6844