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Indonesia earthquake 2006


  • On 27 May 2006, an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale struck the Indonesian island of Java just before 6am local time. The epicenter was in the Indian Ocean and caused damage to the city of Yogyakarta and the surrounding towns.
  • According to official figures 5,749 people were killed and more than 38,000 injured. Almost 600,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, and nearly 1.2 million people were left homeless. In total two million people were affected by the quake.
  • The Indonesian Red Cross led the response, undertaking search and rescue and relief distribution activities, with the support of the British Red Cross.
  • The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) helped 325,000 affected people in the 12 months after the disaster.
  • The British Red Cross contributed £1.2 million to help survivors and sent a number of logistics teams to the region in the immediate aftermath to help coordinate the arrival and distribution of relief supplies.

The International Red Cross response

Old couple homeless in southern Java.Hundreds of Indonesian Red Cross staff and volunteers responded immediately to the earthquake. Within the first week, the Indonesian Red Cross treated more than 5,000 patients and gave essential supplies to as many as 40,000 survivors. They provided emergency first aid and distributed food, bottled water, tents, tarpaulins and baby kits to those people affected by the earthquake.

Before the earthquake, 200 Red Cross staff and volunteers, including some staff from the Singapore Red Cross, had been supporting people nearby who had been moved to protect them from volcanic activity from Mt Merapi and so they were ready to respond quickly. The Indonesian Red Cross led the response, supported by the IFRC, which distributed tents and other relief items such as tarpaulins, jerry cans, blankets, detergent and soap.

A family in front of the remains of their home in a village near BantulAn appeal was launched, raising over £16 million worldwide - funds used to provide help to the thousands of families affected by the earthquake over 12 months. The relief airlifts were co-ordinated by a British Red Cross logistics emergency response unit.

In the first three months after the quake the Indonesian Red Cross and Federation operation helped:

  • 124,778 families with relief items, including tents, tarpaulins and food parcels.
  • 2,800 families benefited from water and sanitation activities, with wells cleaned, deepened and pumps installed.
  • 23,000 people received medical assistance

The Indonesian Red Cross and Federation provided communities with financial and technical assistance to build 14,550 earthquake resistant shelters. At its peak in November 2006, 800 shelters were being completed every week. Thousands of survivors received psycho-social support.

The British Red Cross response

Oom, cradling her 5-month-old sonThe British Red Cross contributed £1.2 million to the overall Red Cross appeal. The British Red Cross’ own appeal raised £900,000 and an additional £300,000 was sent from our Disaster Fund. We sent a number of staff to assist the response, including a health expert and five person emergency response team, to help co-ordinate the arrival and distribution of much needed aid to the most vulnerable.

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