Agencies, individuals in Singapore reach out to victims of Aceh earthquake

Members of an Indonesian rescue team and local residents searching for victims using an excavator after an earthquake struck Pidie Jaya district, Aceh, Indonesia on Dec 8, 2016.
Members of an Indonesian rescue team and local residents searching for victims using an excavator after an earthquake struck Pidie Jaya district, Aceh, Indonesia on Dec 8, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

Singapore - Agencies and individuals in Singapore are making efforts to help victims of Wednesday's (Dec 7) earthquake in Indonesia.

The 6.5-magnitude earthquake that struck Aceh province in Sumatra on Wednesday has left at least 102 dead, more than 600 injured and over 8,000 displaced.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) has sent two officers to Indonesia as part of a five-man Asean Emergency Response and Assessment Team, under the auspices of the Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management.

The Singapore Red Cross (SRC) is committing S$50,000 for relief items to support disaster response efforts.

According to an SRC report released Thursday, these funds "will support the search, rescue and retrieval efforts by the Indonesian Red Cross - Palang Merah Indonesia (PMI) - which is working with local government agencies to provide immediate assistance to affected people."

PMI's assistance includes blankets, tarpaulins, hygiene kits, food packs, and two 5,000-litre water tanks and water purification equipment, the report added.

Mercy Relief will send a two-man disaster response team to Aceh, to "conduct a comprehensive assessment of the affected communities' needs" to determine how they might help them effectively.

The disaster relief agency said relief distribution operations could start as early as Friday.

 
 

Neither SRC nor Mercy Relief is launching a public fund-raising appeal just yet. The public can visit their websites for updates.

Mr Dwi Miftach, 53, Minister Counsellor at the Embassy of Indonesia in Singapore, said the embassy has received many queries from people who want to help.

The embassy has directed them to Indonesian radio and TV stations. It has also provided information on various organisations and Indonesia's Ministry of Social Affairs and National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), so people can "choose how to convey their support".

Madam Noor Lizah Nurdin, 48, who is married to the governor of Riau, is working with volunteers from Project GoodWill Aid to collect items until Dec 25, to be sent to Aceh with the help of the Indonesian Air Force.

Meanwhile, Singaporean social entrepreneur Mohamad Tahar Jumaat, 48, has been organising relief efforts through Nature For Change (NFC), an Indonesian-based charity he founded in 2014. He will join the NFC team in Indonesia on Friday to help transport 100 bags of rice, each 10kg, to victims in Pidie Jaya.

Said Mr Mohamad, who has also raised more than S$2,000 for relief supplies: "I think everyone wants to help with humanitarian efforts, I am only procrastinating less in doing it."