News Alert: Mercy Corps Responding to Indonesian Earthquake as COVID-19 Concerns Rise

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Following the recent 6.2 magnitude earthquake that killed at least 73 people in West Sulawesi, Indonesia, global organisation Mercy Corps is rushing urgent emergency support to those affected in the region.

Nearly 10,000 people have been displaced in West Sulawesi, with over 1,150 houses destroyed as well as three hospitals. Mercy Corps is providing clean water, hygiene kits, shelter and food to local residents.

Piva Bell, Mercy Corps' Indonesia Response Team Manager, says:

"Nearly 10,000 people have been forced from their homes by this earthquake, with many left in crowded makeshift evacuation shelters without access to basic sanitary and food supplies, or even clean water.

"Cases of COVID-19 are rising in the Mamuju and Majene regencies, and both affected districts are Red Zones -- Indonesia's highest COVID-19 risk rating -- but hygiene supplies such as masks, hand sanitizer and facilities such as hand washing stations are not available in displacement shelters. Hospitals have been destroyed and the heavy rainfall has made it extremely difficult to reach those most affected because it caused landslides in several spots, blocking access to remote areas.

"Mercy Corps Indonesia's emergency responders have themselves encountered heavy rain, landslides and power outages, as they work to reach the affected areas and the communications lines and internet are unstable. People have now gone days without the basic supplies they need to survive.

"We're rushing support to the people of West Sulawesi as quickly as possible. The sheer number of disasters that this part of Indonesia has endured in recent weeks has reduced everyone's ability to cope."

*Mercy Corps has worked in Indonesia for over 20 years. Our Indonesian Response Team was established in 2007 and has responded to over 20 disasters, including earthquakes, floods, landslides and tsunamis. *