The UK-based international development agency, Christian Aid, has launched an emergency appeal for victims of the Indonesian earthquake. Its partner agencies in the country have already sent emergency task forces to the affected area.
One of them, YEU (Yakkum Emergency Unit), comprising doctors and nurses trained in responding to such emergencies, has taken in medical supplies, blankets, tents and hygiene kits for survivors.
Another local partner, YTB (Disaster Response Foundation) will start distributing rice and blankets through its network of member churches.
Christian Aid also works closely in Indonesia with Church World Service (the US inter-church aid agency), which is expected to start organising airlifts of supplies to the Padang area.
"The first 48 hours after an earthquake are vital", said Robin Greenwood, director of Christian Aid’s Asia Programme.
"If you can reach survivors during that time, there is a chance of getting them out alive. After that, their chances decline," he added.
Greenwood continued: "We are launching the appeal because the scale of devastation is significant and information from our partners already indicates the need for a scaled up response to save lives."
"As well as trying to meet the immediate needs of survivors, our partner agencies will also face the huge task of helping them rebuild their lives," he said.
Christian Aid started working in Indonesia after the tsunami in 2004. It supports programmes which include training and drilling school children in what to do in the event of a tsunami or earthquake.
To donate to the appeal, please phone 08080 004004 or visit www.christianaid.org.uk