Many Aceh Victims Still in Need of Aid

Earthquake victims sleep outside their house for fear of aftershocks, in Lampahan Village, Central Aceh District on July 3, 2013. At least 30 people were killed and 210 were injured after a magnitude-6.2 earthquake hit Aceh province on July 2. More than 1,500 buildings and houses were also damaged in the quake, Sutopo Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency, said. (EPA Photo/Hotli Simanjuntak)

Banda Aceh. Many earthquake victims in secluded areas of Aceh had yet to receive proper aid, local officials said on Friday.

“The severe damage [in some areas] and the number of victims has made it difficult to disperse aid, especially since supplies are still limited,” Masrizal Edy, the secretary of the Central Aceh Disaster Management Agency (BPPD), said.

“We are trying to take care of all the victims.”

Adj. Sr. Cmr. Artanto of the Central Aceh district police said that parts of Central Aceh and Bener Meriah affected by Tuesday’s 6.2 magnitude quake had yet to receive tents, blankets, food, medication or clothes.

Landslides and damage to property had made some areas very difficult to reach, he said.

Different data released by provincial and district disaster agencies on the victims has affected aid distribution, as well.

Maj. Gen. Zahari Siregar, the head of the Iskandar Muda Military Command, which oversees military operations across the province, said that the army sent an additional battalion and another group of troops to the districts of Bener Meriah and Central Aceh.

The additional personnel would help victims by pitching tents in the surrounding areas, he said, adding that he expected conditions to improve over the next two days.

“We don’t want victims sleeping on the floor. We will try to provide folding beds for them, even though supplies are limited,” he told reporters on Thursday.

He said 35 areas in Aceh had suffered severe damage.

“There are 15 points in Central Aceh and 20 points in Bener Meriah. But there are other locations that remain undetected, and it is our duty to search for the victims,” he said.

Central Aceh district head Nasruddin said that there were currently 5,000 Central Aceh residents living in temporary shelters.

Tuesday’s earthquake triggered landslides and collapsed homes in the region, and data from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said 30 people — 12 in Bener Meriah and 18 in Central Aceh — had been killed, while other reports put the death toll at 42. By SP/Muhammad Hamzah, JakartaGlobe