Australia Offers Help With Aceh, Indonesia Quake Response

MEUREUDU, Indonesia — The Latest on a magnitude-6.5 earthquake that hit Indonesia’s Aceh province on Wednesday (all times local):


3:50 p.m.

The Australian government, which has a sometimes testy relationship with its northern neighbor Indonesia, says it’s ready to help with the response to Wednesday’s strong earthquake.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told reporters Thursday the government hopes Indonesia will be able to quickly ascertain the numbers of people affected.

“The search and rescue operations are still underway, but we have offered the technical assistance and the ability to assess damage,” she said.

Japan, a major investor in Indonesia, has said it’s ready to provide assistance if requested.


11:10 a.m.

A spokesman for Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency says the death toll from Wednesday’s earthquake has risen to 102, spread across three districts in northern Aceh but concentrated in Pidie Jaya near the epicenter.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said at a press conference Thursday that 136 people are severely injured and more than 600 have light injuries.

The death toll “probably will increase,” he says, despite the agency only counting one person as officially missing. “A joint rescue team is still continuing to search for the victims.”


10:15 a.m.

Hajj Yusri Abdullah, owner of a shop in Meureudu town’s crumpled market, says he isn’t holding out much hope survivors will be found as backhoes and rescuers, worked on the rubble.

He says nearly two dozen bodies were pulled from the market debris on Wednesday including a group of eight made up of a newlywed couple and family members holding an ornate celebration known as Antar Dara Baro.

Local TV reported that about 40 shop houses in the market collapsed.

Nearly 100 people died in the shallow and powerful quake that struck northeast Sumatra before dawn on Wednesday.


Thursday, 8 December 2016, 1:39 pm
Press Release: Oxfam

Almost 100 dead after Indonesia earthquake, Oxfam responding — 
For immediate release

08 December 2016

Oxfam is mounting a response to the 6.5 magnitude earthquake that hit the northern end of the Indonesian island of Sumatra near Banda Aceh yesterday morning.

Almost 100 people have been killed and more than 500 injured, according to local military officials.

Up to 200 buildings have been destroyed and many of the people killed were asleep at the time of the earthquake.

Oxfam Australia’s Humanitarian Manager Meg Quartermaine said ongoing search and rescue attempts yesterday evening were hampered by nightfall and poor weather conditions.

“Oxfam’s local partners in Aceh have been carrying out emergency assessments; with aftershocks continuing on and reports of serious damage to some buildings and infrastructure, there is not a moment to waste,” Ms Quartermaine said.

“We will be distributing hygiene kits and tarpaulins, and have emergency response experts on stand-by to travel to the worst-affected areas if needed.

“Our priority now is to get an expert assessment of the earthquake’s impact in order to offer aid in the most appropriate and effective way to those people who are affected the most.

“We are coordinating with local authorities so that our actions are complementary to government agencies.”

Oxfam has been working with local and national partners in Indonesia since 1957 and responded to the deadly Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004, which was caused by a massive 9.1 magnitude earthquake off Aceh and devastated the provincial capital Banda Aceh.

Donations to support Oxfam’s emergency responses around the world can be made online at or call 0800 600 700.



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