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» 05/30/2006
INDONESIA
Newborns, children, most forgotten victims of Java quake
by Mathias Hariyadi

Aid is arriving slowly: milk and clothes for child survivors are lacking. Tents available are still very few: survivors are sleeping under the trees in graveyards, along roads in makeshift shelters or in animal sheds.



Yogyakarta (AsiaNews) – Children in the quake-hit areas are "victims" of aid that fails to respond to their needs. The allegation was made by survivors of the strong quake that shook the area south of Yogyakarta – Indonesia's ancient royal city – on 27 May. According to the Social Affairs Ministry in Jakarta, the death toll has climbed to 5,427. National and international aid teams and agencies have mobilized; they are gradually reaching stricken areas, but their efforts do not appear to suffice.

Mrs Suseno, a resident of Pesu – sub-district of Wedi, Klaten – said: "Children are hungry and suffering from cold and respiratory trouble." She said most food supplies and clothes were unsuitable for children. "Babies need milk, baby food and clothes to fit them," she said. Eye witnesses told of desperate children begging for food from passers-by. Right now, money is the most pressing need. A resident of Jetis, Bantul regency, shares this view:  "My children need clothes; they have been wearing the same top for three days."

Tents are also lacking in quake-hit areas: latest official figures speak of 200,000 homeless people and more than 15,000 collapsed buildings in Bantul, Klaten, Sleman, Yogyakarta, Kulonprogo and Gunung Kidul. Displaced people are forced to seek shelter from the sun under trees in cemeteries. Others choose to sleep alongside main roads under makeshift "roofs" made of torn materials. Some say they have resorted to cowsheds to shelter from the rain.

Fr Drajad Soesilo, a Jesuit, arrived in Gantiwarno to deliver aid collected in his parish of Danan. "Here, the situation is desolate: Survivors are seeking to stay alive by any means, they eat whatever they find and drink rain water." Agung Nugroho, a teacher in Jakarta originally from Gantiwarno, returned home after hearing about the tragedy. "We cannot do anything else other than to welcome with open arms whatever aid comes. Daily life is very tough now, and even those who were well off before have nothing."

The anguish of survivors is fed by the state of the Merapi volcano: around 70km from the epicenter of the 27 May quake, it became more active yesterday after a few days of respite.


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See also
06/03/2006 INDONESIA
Java quake: aftershock sparks panic among people
06/05/2006 INDONESIA
Java: Starting from scratch after quake
by Mathias Hariyadi
07/22/2006 INDONESIA
Tsunami alert still high, warn experts
by Mathias Hariyadi
07/18/2006 INDONESIA
More than 260 people killed by tsunami
05/28/2006 INDONESIA
Fund raising and outdoor masses for Java Catholics
by Mathias Hariyadi
INDONESIA
Thousands killed and wounded in Java quake
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Indonesian Church: more than 100,000 dollars for Java quake survivors
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Java: Starting from scratch after quake
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Quake: Indonesia's mourning
INDONESIA
Java: Klaten destruction ignored by aid workers, media and government
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Quake: How to help the Indonesian Church
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Java quake: call for orthopedic supplies as death toll exceeds 5,800
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Quake in Java: Help the helpers, says Indonesian Church
INDONESIA
Java quake: Fear for artistic heritage as death toll exceeds 5,000
INDONESIA
Java quake: death toll surpasses 4,000; rains fall on survivors without food or medicine
INDONESIA
Fund raising and outdoor masses for Java Catholics
INDONESIA
Tragedy of Java quake survivors
INDONESIA
Java quake: rescue work tough; army mobilizes

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