Oxfam quake relief effort targets remote communities

Published: 30 May 2006

International agency Oxfam today focused its Java earthquake response on reaching people affected in the outlying and inaccessible areas.

In remote villages, roads are only accessible by small trucks due to the amount of debris on the road from collapsed buildings. Oxfam assessment teams, drawing on the expertise of established local partner organizations, traveled to six outlying sub-districts surrounding the city of Yogyakarta to identify aid gaps.

“Reaching people in the more remote villages has been challenging, but we’re confident that we’ll very soon be delivering aid to those people who’ve been cut off from relief until now,” said Craig Owen, spokesman for Oxfam in the affected area of South Java.

Earthquake survivors are slowly preparing to return to the remains of their homes to clear rubble and debris, four days after the powerful quake struck Yogyakarta, killing more than 5,000 people and leaving an estimated 130,000 people homeless.

“As aftershocks become less frequent, some families have the courage to return to the fragile buildings that were once their homes and start the clean up operation. The sense of loss is enormous as people count the cost of this tragedy,” said Owen.

Oxfam is now planning a US$5.5 to 9.3 million (GB £3 – 5 million / 4.3 to 7.3 million Euro) response reaching 100,000 people over three months. Stocks and expertise are being drawn in from Oxfam’s operations in Jakarta, Aceh, West Timor and Bangkok. A team of 19 international and 26 national staff will support the Yogyakarta earthquake response.

Thousands of injured people remain in hospitals, which are overwhelmed by the scale of the crisis.

According to government figures, an estimated 21,000 houses have been completely destroyed and a further 44,500 damaged. The majority of these are in Bantul, south west of Yogyakarta.

“We have been able to distribute hygiene kits and thousands of tarpaulins for emergency shelter in the immediate aftermath of the crisis. However, people’s thoughts are starting to turn to the immediate future," said Owen.

The Oxfam worker spent this morning visiting victims at Bantul Hospital, where Oxfam delivered water and emergency supplies on Saturday evening to 5,000 people camped around the hospital looking after injured family members awaiting treatment.

He spoke to a 22 year-old man called Tulus, sheltering under an Oxfam tarpaulin while his grandfather undergoes treatment for head injuries.

“We are glad to be saved,” Tulus said, “but we don’t know what to do, where to go. We have no home any more, and my workplace is destroyed so I will have no job. We are not ready yet, but we must start to rebuild… something.”

Tulus lost his 12-year old brother Heri, when their house collapsed on their family of six on Saturday morning.

Members of the public wishing to donate money to the earthquake relief response can do so at
Oxfam America
Oxfam Australia
Oxfam Great Britain.


Contact Information

For interviews with Oxfam staff in the affected area and in the UK, please contact the Oxfam Media Unit on + 44 1865 472498