Java Quake 3 months on: quake survivors benefit from Tsunami lessons

Published: 25 August 2006

Lessons learned from the 2004 Asian tsunami have benefited survivors of the earthquake which hit Central Java three months ago, said international aid agency Oxfam.

The powerful earthquake, which struck Indonesia’s Central Java region near the city of Yogyakarta, measured 6.2 on the Richter scale. It killed more than 5,000 people and left up to 1.5 million people homeless.

David MacDonald, Oxfam’s Country Program Manager for Indonesia, who oversaw Oxfam’s work in the early days of both disasters, said:

“With the 2004 tsunami triggering the biggest aid effort in history, it’s important that we’ve been able to learn from it to help the survivors of other emergencies - not least here in Indonesia, a country which unfortunately receives more than its fair share of natural disasters.”

Oxfam’s teams on the ground in Indonesia were able to respond immediately when the Java earthquake struck. They have now reached 220,000 people in more than 50 communities in the Yogyakarta area, providing them with clean water, clothing, housing materials, toilet facilities, tools to facilitate reconstruction and cash grants to help people re-establish their livelihoods.

El Tayeb Musa, who led the response said:

“In Yogyakarta and the surrounding affected villages, we’ve made good use of a system of cash grants to help many of those affected to rebuild their lives. This is a model which was successfully used in the tsunami response, and which Oxfam is now using in many of our disaster response programs worldwide”.

The experience gained after the tsunami meant Oxfam had an improved disaster planning system in Indonesia. This enabled the agency’s team to be on the ground responding to the Java quake within hours of it occurring, in spite of local staff being badly shaken. Teams were able to make use of valuable new skills learned during the tsunami response.

Oxfam’s Java quake response also benefited from substantial funding from the European Commission, and from the fact that the agency has worked in Yogyakarta for ten years, and thus has good local knowledge and a well-developed network of partners.


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