Oxfam: First aid arrives in Nias, more on the way

Published: 1 November 2005

Oxfam has today flown in basic emergency supplies to the island of Nias following yesterday's assessment. The supplies arrived on the island at noon today (Wednesday).

Oxfam has today flown in basic emergency supplies to the island of Nias following yesterday's assessment. The supplies arrived on the island at noon today (Wednesday).

The first helicopter flight contained tents for 300 people, 5,000 portions of noodles, 10,000 portions of rice, 3,000 bottles of water, 200 body bags and hundreds of litres of fuel. Also on the flight were basic medical supplies such as drugs and bandages.

More aid has been ordered and is currently being collected from Oxfam's Indonesian warehouses. Once gathered it will be sent by boat to the island as soon as possible. Specialist aid equipment including water pumps, water tanks and communications equipment worth nearly £500,000 (approximately $950,000US) will also be flown from the UK to the region on Friday.

Alessandra Vilas Boas, a member of the Oxfam assessment team said, "This morning we managed to evacuate people by helicopter who had been critically injured in the quake. There are many others injured on the island who need urgent assistance. Oxfam has already started getting aid onto the ground and by the end of today three water tankers will be supplying up to ten thousand people with clean water. We've also flown in tents, food and medical supplies and have lots more assistance on the way."

Oxfam has begun distributing bottles of water, biscuits, tents and basic clothing to hundreds of families who have lost everything.

"The conditions are grim. I spent last night in a camp with people who have lost their homes. It started raining in the night and we tried to gather under a few pieces of plastic sheeting to keep dry. While I flew out today the thousands of local people who have lost their homes will have another hard night ahead," added Ms. Vilas Boas.

Tomorrow Oxfam plans to set up a public kitchen to start providing food to the victims of the earthquake and more staff will be arriving by helicopter to bolster the aid effort.

Contact Information

For more information contact:
Brendan Cox, Senior Press Officer, Tel: 44 (0) 1865 312289