WFP food aid heads for tsunami victims in West Java

Published on 18 July 2006

With an estimated 35,000 people displaced by the six metre tsunami waves that crashed into the south coast of West Java on Monday, WFP has immediately dispatched 15 metric tons of food assistance to the worst-hit area.

With tens of thousands of people displaced by the six metre tsunami waves that crashed into the coastlines of west and central Java on Monday following an underwater earthquake, WFP has immediately dispatched 15 metric tons of food assistance to the worst-hit areas.

Three trucks, supplied by WFP corporate partner TNT and packed with high energy biscuits and noodles, will depart Jakarta later on Tuesday for the Pangandaran resort area, located 450 kilometres south of the Indonesia capital in west Java, where an estimated 35,000 people have lost their homes.

Two additional TNT trucks are on standby in Yogyakarta, ready to move if required.

Rapid assessments

The decision to supply food aid follows the initial findings of two UN-led rapid assessment missions sent to the affected areas in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.

The first mission, comprising WFP, OCHA, UNICEF and IFRC, left Yogyjakarta for central Java within an hour of the massive underwater earthquake which rocked the Indian Ocean floor 170 km south of the island on Monday and sent one to three metre waves crashing into the coastline and up to 400 metres inland.

Damage

The mission has already reached the towns of Kebumen and Cilicap in central Java.

In Kebumen, where 800 people were displaced, residents fled to the relative safety of higher ground. Many have already returned to their homes to discover that 480 fishing boats were washed away and 120 houses damaged.

Damage was more extensive further west in and around Cilacap, where some 50 people reportedly lost their lives.

The second mission from Jakarta, which consists of WFP, OCHA, UNDP, UNICEF and WHO, reached west Java on Tuesday, visting the hardest-hit area of Pangandaran in Ciamis district. Here, hotels, restaurants and buildings were destroyed by two-four metre high waves. More than 2,200 fishing boats are missing.

Survivors are scattered in 15 different locations in six sub-districts, taking shelter in mosques and other buildings. Others are camping out. Three field kitchens have been set up and food is being distributed.

Toll

In total, the Indonesian Red Cross reports 256 dead and 127 missing, with 200 injured by the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami.

Yogyakarta is still recovering from a 6.3 magnitude earthquake which devastated the city last May, killing thousands.

More than 130,000 people were killed in Indonesia in the December 2004 Asian tsunami.