About $80,000 raised in Singapore for Indonesian tsunami relief efforts

The money, which is being collected though an ongoing month-long public appeal, will go towards buying relief items for displaced survivors and longer-term recovery and rebuilding efforts.
The money, which is being collected though an ongoing month-long public appeal, will go towards buying relief items for displaced survivors and longer-term recovery and rebuilding efforts.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Red Cross has received almost $80,000 in donations from people in Singapore to aid ongoing relief efforts in Indonesia's Sunda Straits.

The tsunami last Saturday (Dec 22) claimed at least 430 lives, left 1,500 injured and nearly 22,000 people.

The money, which is being collected though an ongoing month-long public appeal, will go towards buying relief items for displaced survivors and longer-term recovery and rebuilding efforts.

In a statement on Thursday (Dec 27), the Singapore Red Cross said a two-man volunteer team has arrived in the Banten province, one of the worst-hit areas.

The disaster struck the seaside area of Pandeglang during the peak holiday season when it was crowded with tourists.

The team made it there on Wednesday, just before Indonesian authorities rerouted all flights around the erupting Anak Krakatau volcano, which is located between Java and Sumatra islands.

After conducting ground assessments, the Singapore Red Cross team is now working with its Indonesian counterparts in their relief efforts.

 

They are with 400 Red Cross staff and volunteers currently delivering medical services and supplies to survivors, cleaning debris and helping with search and rescue efforts in the provinces of Banten and Lampung.

Last Saturday, an eruption at the Anak Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Strait, which separates Java and Sumatra, caused a section of the crater to collapse and slide into the ocean, displacing a large volume of water and triggering killer waves as high as 5m.

Secretary-general and chief executive of the Singapore Red Cross Benjamin William said that the organisation started preparing for relief work within a day of the disaster, which allowed them to secure flights on short notice.

This allowed the team to fly to Jakarta before flights were cancelled.

It was reported on Thursday that Indonesia has imposed a no-fly zone around the erupting volcano.

Mr William said: "The safety of our team remains of utmost importance and we will continue to keep in close contact with our volunteers over the course of their mission."

So far, there have been no reports of Singaporeans affected, but the Singapore Red Cross has activated its Restoring Family Links service to help Singaporeans and Indonesians locate family members who may have been affected by the disaster, with whom they have difficulty contacting.

The organisation said that rescue efforts have been hampered by torrential rain and blocked roads, with local authorities warning of extreme weather and high waves around the erupting Anak Krakatau volcano.

The Singapore Red Cross said it will continue to monitor the situation closely and work with its ground partners to render appropriate aid to the affected communities.

People who wish to contribute to the relief efforts, as part of the Singapore Red Cross fundraising appeal from Dec 26 to Jan 25, may do so via:

- An online donation at redcross.give.asia/sundastraits2018

- A cash donation to Red Cross House, which is at 15 Penang Lane, Singapore 238486. Office hours are between 9am and 6pm from Monday to Friday; from 9am to 1pm on New Year's Eve

- A cheque donation to the "Singapore Red Cross Society", to be posted to the same address above.

Donors should leave their name, postal address, and indicate "Sunda Strait Tsunami 2018" on the back of the cheque.