Aceh quake homeless more than doubles to 45,000: Indonesia authorities

Residents hit by the deadly earthquake in Indonesia's Aceh province begin clearing away the debris.
A rescue team and dog search for victims under a collapsed building in Aceh on Dec 9, 2016. The 6.4 earthquake that struck on Dec 7 has left thousands homeless.
A rescue team and dog search for victims under a collapsed building in Aceh on Dec 9, 2016. The 6.4 earthquake that struck on Dec 7 has left thousands homeless.PHOTO: AFP
Indonesian President Joko Widodo visits a hospital treating victims of the deadly 6.5 magnitude quake that hit on Wednesday. Search and rescue efforts stretch into day three while thousands find themselves newly homeless.

JAKARTA - The powerful 6.5-magnitude which rattled Indonesia's western province of Aceh on Wednesday has displaced more than 45,000 people, the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) said on Saturday (Dec 10), nearly doubling the figure given a day earlier.

"The number of displaced recorded is 45,329 people," BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement, adding that the figure continues to grow as reports come in from shelters. 

Aid agencies are coordinating with local governments on relief efforts, following the temblor which left 101 people dead and hundreds injured.

Nearly 12,000 homes, shophouses, mosques and schools were also damaged, as well as 14.8km of roads and 55 bridges, said Dr Sutopo.

As rescue operations - which now involve 4,000 people - entered the fourth day, he said, aid workers have been tasked to manage four areas: provision of clean water and sanitation, evacuation, psychosocial protection as well as security.

A warehouse to store logistics is also being set up in Pidie Jaya, the worst-hit district in Aceh and where ongoing rescue efforts are focused, he added.

 
 

President Joko Widodo on Friday visited victims in quake-hit areas and promised affected residents will receive up to 40 million rupiah (S$4,300) to rebuild their homes.

Offers of assistance have poured in from foreign countries, such as Australia and Japan, as the province declared a state of emergency.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said Singapore stands ready to help Indonesia in any way it can.

Aceh, which sits on the westernmost point of the country, is particularly prone to earthquakes.

This week's quake is the deadliest to hit the province since the Boxing Day earthquake in 2004, which triggered a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people in Indonesia, mostly in Aceh, as well as Sri Lanka, Thailand and India.