Powerful earthquake hits Indonesia

Published: 27 May 2006

A powerful earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale struck Central Java near the city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia at 5:54 am local time Saturday 26 May.

The Oxfam team in Yogyakarta, a city of approximately 800,000 people, is assessing the damage and the urgent needs of people in the area. We hope to have our initial assessment completed in the coming hours.

Our response could include distributing kits with urgent supplies such as soap and buckets, to families who have fled their homes, as well as making sure there is clean water available. We may also provide tarpaulins for shelter if required.

Our current analysis is that the bulk of the damage will be in the area South/South East of Yogyakarta between the city and the sea. There are reports that thousands of people are injured in the area, some of whom are in the local hospital. In that part of the city many houses constructed from mud and brick, and we are concerned that these will have collapsed, whereas the traditional wooden houses should have survived the earthquake shocks.

In Yogyakarta, electricity supplies have been lost in some areas and the mobile phone network has been erratic, possibly through an overloading the system as people try and contact their families.

The Yogyakarta airport has been temporarily closed, due to cracks on the runway. We have also heard reports that other airports nearby have also been closed. It takes 9 hours by road or rail to reach Yogyakarta from the capital Jakarta. Oxfam have a stock of relief supplies including shelter materials and water and sanitation equipment in Yogyakarta.

Oxfam has a total of 20 staff Yogyakarta. The 4 international staff are accounted for. We are still waiting to confirm that 5 of the 16 national staff are safe.

More updates will be available on the Oxfam Great Britain website.

Contact Information

Media coordination: Gemma Swart, Bangkok, +66 1 814 7756
Staff available for interviews in Yogyakarta:
Craig Owen + 62 812 698 9621
Paulette Song + 62 812 698 8064