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Renewed calls seek help for victims of Aceh quake

Many still living rough due to fears caused by aftershocks that followed Indonesian disaster

Renewed calls seek help for victims of Aceh quake

Aid is distributed to young victims of the quake that rocked Aceh province in Indonesia on Dec. 7, 2016. (Photo supplied by Anta Bungsu Rumpak)

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Church institutions have renewed calls for donors to continue channelling aid to quake victims in Indonesia’s Aceh province, with a special emphasis on providing help to homeless pregnant women and infants.

They say thousands are still in need of assistance following a 6.5 magnitude quake on Dec 7 that left 104 people dead and more than 85,000 homeless.

About 18,000 homes were badly damaged in the three districts of Pidie Jaya, Bireuen and Pidi.

Divine Word Father Paul Rahmat, director of Vivat International for Indonesia told ucanews.com on Jan 4 that Vivat, along with with Caritas Indonesia and the Socio-Economic Development Commission of Medan Archdiocese were still distributing aid.

"We brought mattresses, mosquito nets, and blankets, which were donated by religious orders and parishioners," Father Rahmat said by phone from Aceh.

He said aid collections were ongoing and would be delivered as soon as possible, he said.

"There’s an urgent need to help pregnant women and infants, especially those under 1 year old,” he said.

 In addition to the emergency supplies, they also intend to build 159 emergency wooden homes in the area.

Anta Bungsu Rumpak, from the Humanitarian Volunteer Network who has been helping victims since Dec 10, said many people were living in tents because they were too scared to take shelter in more solid structures.

"Aftershocks are still occurring several times a day," he said.

Foods stocks are sufficient, but blankets and mattresses are still needed, Rumpak said.

Meanwhile, Frans Dellian, head of public relations of Aceh province, said the government was about to start building new homes and repair damaged houses and public facilities.

"We hope that donors can take advantage of this opportunity to contribute in helping in the recovery process," he said.

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