Relaymedia

Aid Rush Follows Indonesia Quakes

Relief agencies have scrambled emergency teams to Indonesia after a magnitude 8.4 earthquake and subsequent tremors shook the country’s Sumatra Island over the course of Wednesday night and Thursday m

Relief agencies have scrambled emergency teams to Indonesia after a magnitude 8.4 earthquake and subsequent tremors shook the country’s Sumatra Island over the course of Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Christian humanitarian organisation World Vision and International Medical Corps both announced that they are sending teams to assess the extent of the damage and help in the recovery.

World Vision’s director in Indonesia, Trihadi Saptoadi, and WV’s humanitarian emergency assistance manager, Jimmy Nadapdap, are monitoring the situation to see if a rapid emergency response is required.

The US-based Catholic Relief Services agency, which has worked in Indonesia for 50 years, said it has allocated $50,000 towards aid efforts.

Wednesday's quake led to tsunami warnings being issued across the Indian Ocean, but only a small wave surge of about 1m (3ft) hit Sumatra, causing little damage.

At least a dozen aftershocks were felt later and four more tsunami warnings were briefly declared and then lifted, reports from the region have said.

Many buildings collapsed and power lines came down, killing at least nine people and injuring around 40.

The scale of the damage, however, is not as great as first believed, say officials.

"Our initial assessment is that the government will be able to cope," UN Office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokeswoman Elizabeth Byrs was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

The magnitude 8.4 earthquake was the strongest earthquake this year and struck at around 1810 local time on Wednesday. It could be felt 375 miles away in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta where office workers reportedly rushed down the stairways of tall, swaying buildings. High rises in neighbouring Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand also swayed due to the earthquake.