BENGKULU, INDONESIA- September 13 - CARE's emergency response workers have arrived in the area of Bengkulu that was struck by a series of powerful earthquakes on Wednesday and Thursday, measuring as high as 8.4 on the Richter scale. As part of the initial response, CARE is prepared to distribute water purification solution to help prevent the spread of waterborne diseases.
"After an earthquake of this size, the electricity and the water systems are the first infrastructure to be broken because of the severe shaking. If people don't have access to clean water, the first danger is outbreak of waterborne disease," said Adjie Fachrurrazi, CARE's emergency team leader in the earthquake-affected area. Fachrurrazi responded to last year's earthquake in Yogyakarta, and led CARE's emergency response to another deadly earthquake in Padang, West Sumatra, earlier this year.
"CARE is preparing supplies of water purification solution to make sure people have access to clean, safe water. From CARE's experience in responding to emergencies in Indonesia, safe water is the best way to prevent the spread of disease after a disaster," he said.
Three areas in Bengkulu province have been heavily affected: Muko-muko District, Bengkulu Utara District and Bengkulu City. The city of Padang, which is still recovering from a 6.3 earthquake in March 2007, has also reported heavy damage. The number of casualties and extent of the damage is expected to rise as more information comes in from hard-to-reach rural areas.
CARE is coordinating closely with government departments, NGOs, UN agencies and our local partners in the affected area to determine what the immediate requirements are on the ground and to coordinate our response. CARE, with 40 years of experience in Indonesia, has responded to several natural disasters in the country in the past few years, including the tsunami in Aceh in 2004 that killed more than 132,000 people.
Please help CARE be ready to respond to this and other diasters around the world by donating to our Emergency Response Fund.