Humanitarian Health Action

28 March earthquake: Situation report 5

2 April 2005

Indonesia earthquake 2005
Indonesia earthquake 2005

This report is prepared by WHO Indonesia.

History of the earthquake and place

  • A great earthquake was noted at 23:09:36 hrs, local time at epicenter, on Monday, March 28, 2005. The magnitude was 8.7 on the Richter scale and located in NORTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA. The epicenter was located 90 km south of Sinabang with 30 Km Depth 2.065 N 97.010 E
  • No Major Tsunami was reported near the epicenter.
  • The earthquake was also felt in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Coco Island, Australia
  • Multiple aftershocks measuring 6.0 or higher in the early hours after initial quake. Latest aftershock reported in Nias region was on 2 April at 03:32:38 local time measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale.

Area affected

Major affected areas are the following:

  • Nias Island, Nias Province, Capital Gunung Sitoli, Gido, Gomo and Teluk Dalam (District Capital of South Nias)
  • Simeulue Island, NAD Province
  • Pulau Banyak, NAD Province
  • Singkil, NAD Province

Population at risk

There are still no definite estimates of the affected population hit by the earthquake.

Affected population

Nias (North Sumatra Province)

Current situation

  • New information from Gunung Sitoli, Nias has raised the death toll there to 1300 in the city alone, according to Search & Rescue teams based there. The initial estimates are being considered quite conservative compared to the ground reality
  • The figure of 444 deaths in Nias is the latest confirmed information given by the Governor
  • 156 patients have been evacuated so far, mainly to Medan and Sibolga. This is expected to continue
  • Preliminary information indicates that north and south Nias are most heavily affected. No information is available from the inland part of the islands
  • No treated water is available on the island, only well water is available to the people
  • There is no secondary disaster of any significance in the aftermath of aftershocks
  • Rumors that the island is sinking are leading to more displacement of the people. Four boats of people numbering nearly 800 have already left the island
  • Search and Rescue is continuing but nearing its end in terms of utility
  • Information remains a critical priority issue along with the ability of health personnel to use it effectively
  • The hospital in Gunung Sitoli has become operational. It is preparing itself to start receiving patients even from outside
  • Information about affected rural areas still remains scanty and is being collected
  • The Indonesian government has announced that the emergency phase for this quake would last approximately one month.

Ongoing activities

  • The team leader of WHO in Banda Aceh, Dr. Anshu Banerjee, will be visiting Nias shortly to take stock of the situation and the medical relief efforts going on there
  • WHO’s ground staff in Nias includes a medical co-coordinator, watsan expert, logisticians, health facilities assessor, disease surveillance officer and a communicable disease officer
  • WHO is providing technical support to Provincial Health Office in rapid epidemiological assessment
  • WHO’s role also includes inter-agency coordination of medical relief efforts, dissemination of minimum standards of environmental health and disease surveillance
  • WHO is supporting the Provincial Health Office to identify unmet needs in the health sector
  • WHO is assisting in re-establishment of water treatment systems
  • About 100 doctors and nurses are arriving in Sibolga from Yogya, Pekan Baru and Palembang on the way to Nias.
  • The Local Government has designated 11 hospitals in Medan, 1 Hospital in Central Tapanuli (Pandan Hospital), 1 Hospital in Sibolga as the referral hospital for treatment of earthquake victims. The local government will assess the need to designate up to 25 hospitals as referral hospitals as more injured victims are evacuated from Nias and surrounding areas


  • Emergency medical care, trauma care, especially general surgeons and orthopedics for orthopedic injuries, severe crushed injuries, head and spinal trauma.
  • Restoration of water supply
  • Electricity generators
  • Special transportation services to reach affected areas and evacuate critically injured
  • Availability of trauma kits
  • Replacement of medical teams every 48 to 72 hours need to be considered because they get exhausted due to lack of food and water with warm and very humid climate conditions
  • Water and food is urgently needed both for the victims and the medical teams in Nias
  • Rubble removing equipment and metal cutting gear has been identified as an ongoing priority
  • Fuel supply remains a problem leading to distribution bottlenecks
  • Medical stabilization and evacuation is a priority issue
Simeulue (Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Province)

Current situation

  • The damage due to earthquake in Simeulue island is also anticipated to be worse than the initial estimates. There is no definite new feedback as yet on numbers though. No change has been reported in the earlier casualty figures of 17 dead and another 177 injured.
  • Some villages have reportedly been completely destroyed
  • Access across the island is still difficult and no estimate is available of when the road use may be possible again
  • Many bridges and roads are damaged. The airport and the seaport are also damaged and need emergency repair to deliver food and other emergency supplies
  • The Indonesian government has announced that the emergency phase for this quake would last approximately one month.

Ongoing activities

  • WHO is coordinating the international relief efforts in the health sector
  • Dr. Anshu Banerjee, the WHO Team Leader in Banda Aceh is visiting Simeulue to take stock of the earthquake situation and the medical relief efforts on the ground
  • A TNI ship with 5 bulldozers has arrived in Simeulue. The ship will maintain a shuttle service between Banda Aceh and Simeulue
  • Medical support is being provided by medical personnel deployed from Banda Aceh. In addition, support is also provided by IMC and CARE. Medical kit and medicines have been received and more are in the pipeline.
  • Two ship provided by CARE are carrying 220 MT of non food item ( body bag, tents, jerry can etc) to Simeulue


  • Emergency medical care, trauma care and medical supply.
  • Shelter, water, and food.
  • Infrastructure recovery including electricity and telecommunications
Pulau Banyak (Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Province)
  • No new additional feedback is available from Pulau Banyak.
Singkil (Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Province)
  • An IRC assessment has reported 11 deaths and 28 injured
  • Communication with Singkil is difficult as the telecom office there got destroyed along with the equipment
  • Residents report a rise in sea water level by 1 meter. The risen water is still 200 meters inside the island flooding coastal area
  • PosKo head in Singkil has reportedly placed the IDP’s at 6,000 on the island and 3,000 on the nearby surrounding islands
  • Nearly 16,000 people are in need of food
  • The town water supply is not working and due to seawater ingress, there is a problem with the well water
  • Damage to both wooden and concrete structures, according to preliminary estimates, is about 80% in Singkil

Contact persons in Indonesia

The following persons can be contacted if more information is needed.

Name Designation Organization Contact phone Fax E-mail
Dr. Kyaw Win (Vijay Nath) Medical Officer EHA, WHO 021-5204349, 811933821, 86811020053 (satellite phone) 021-5201164
Dr Anshu Banerjee Field Operations Manager (Banda Aceh) WHO 8121064878 +47-241- 37387

Source of Information from Indonesia

Information is gathered from the following sources and is not subjected for quotation as it might not reflect the actual true facts at the field level but can be used as references.

  • International and local news media
  • Bakornas bulletin
  • WHO teams in Nias Island, Simeulue Island, Medan, Banda Aceh and Jakarta.
  • Partners in relief efforts