At least 43,000 homeless after Aceh quake in Indonesia

Rescue workers and police remove a victim from a collapsed building following an earthquake in Lueng Putu, Pidie Jaya in the northern province of Aceh, Indonesia (Photo: Reuters)
At least 43,000 people have been displaced by the powerful earthquake that hit Indonesia's Aceh province, authorities said on Saturday, as the government and aid agencies pooled efforts to meet the basic survival needs of shaken communities.

The estimate of the number of homeless people continues to grow while relief efforts fan out across the three districts near the epicentre of Wednesday's magnitude 6.5 quake, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said in a statement. "The basic needs of refugees must be met during the evacuation," it said.

Humanitarian groups are now coordinating their efforts from a main command post in the worst affected district Pidie Jaya, the agency said.

At least 100 people were killed and hundreds injured in the quake, which also destroyed or damaged more than 11,000 buildings. The displaced are staying in temporary shelters and mosques or with relatives.

Today, sniffer dogs were again used in the search for bodies and possible survivors in the devastated town of Meureudu, where a market filled with shop houses was largely flattened. Four other locations in Pidie Jaya are also the focus of search efforts.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo travelled on Friday to worst-hit areas of the province and promised to rebuild communities.


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