Humanitarian Health Action

28 March 2005 Indonesia earthquake: Situation report 7

5 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 epicentre, on Monday, March 28, 2005. The magnitude was 8.7 on the Richter scale and located in NORTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA. The epicentre was located 90 km south of Sinabang with 30 Km Depth 2.065 N 97.010 E
  • Evidence emerges that earthquake generated significant tsunami. A US Geological Survey tsunami expert arriving on the scene yesterday said “a tsunami estimated at almost half the size of the one that struck on December 26 hit some areas along the north-west coast of Sumatra. We're getting reports of about four meters in certain areas."
  • The earthquake was also felt in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Cocos Island, Australia
  • More than 700 aftershocks recorded on island of Nias, 48 aftershocks following the initial earthquake, a further 628 over the following two days and 51 in the first eight hours of Thursday.
  • Multiple aftershocks measuring 6.0 or higher in the early hours after initial quake. Latest aftershock reported yesterday at 6.1 and 6.3 in magnitude off of Indonesia's coast, recorded in Hong Kong at 01.05 GMT and 03.16 GMT and was centred about 280 kilometers west-northwest of Padang and south-south southwest of Medan.

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 no definite estimates of the affected population hit by the earthquake.

Affected population

Nias (North Sumatra Province)
  • Government officials update figures of deaths tolls at 532, with 422 in the Nias District, and 113 from South Nias. Also 1125 seriously injured persons and 928 minor injury cases. The number of temporary displaced has been put at 19,016 while the number of permanently displaced has been put at 35,235 (houses destroyed)
  • The population of Nias is becoming increasingly fearful of further earthquakes and a tsunami following the 28 March earthquake
  • A SurfAid/AusAID medical team took motorbikes into the interior of South Nias to visit the badly damaged village of Hilizulo’otano, about 25km from Telukdalam, following reports of large numbers of injured. Five critical cases were evacuated out of the village with the help of a UN chopper. The entire village of 2955 persons has moved out of their houses and are living in a displaced camp or in small huts made of palm leaves erected in the front of their houses
  • Current areas of displacement in the south of Nias are endemic for malaria. In response, SurfAid has initially prioritized families with children under the age of 5 at-risk children, for distribution of long-life insecticide treated mosquito nets
  • WFP has presented a preliminary list of 152,320 people affected by the 28 March earthquake, with the sub districts of Sirombu and Lahewa considered most in need in northern Nias and Telukdalam most in need in southern Nias.
  • Government officials’ estimates that perhaps 70,000 residents in the earthquake-devastated city of Gunung Sitoli reported homeless. 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
  • There is one hospital in each district. The one in the north is functional while the one in the south is non-functional. There are 18 health centres in the North and 10 in the South. One of the health centres in the south is being converted into a hospital
  • Government health staff of health centres is returning to the centres but it is unclear how many centres are functional
  • There have been twenty suspected cases of measles in Telukdalam, southern Nias. An epidemiological assessment team is being deployed to the area to confirm the outbreak
  • Whilst the district hospital in Gunung Sitoli has reopened, the safety of the partly damaged hospital is still an issue as Nias is still experiencing aftershock tremors
  • Coordination of medical services and logistic support for medical teams is still an issue as more medical teams have set up field hospitals and medical services in the areas surrounding the capital city.
  • Preliminary information indicates that north and south Nias are most heavily affected. No information is available from the inland part of the islands. Aerial survey indicates that there has been heavy damage and that up to 85% of buildings are destroyed.
  • 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
Simeulue (Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Province)
  • Official government report on numbers of identified deaths at 22. With a total figure of injury cases treated at Sinabang Hospital and Field Hospitals of 553 cases until this day.
  • 4 health centres and 12 satellite health centres reported totally destroyed, while data is also being gathered concerning other health centres and satellite health centres.
  • The population in Simeulue is also becoming increasingly fearful of further earthquakes and tsunami following the 28 March earthquake
  • Medical support continues to be deemed as adequate with no additional medical personnel required
  • Previous reports of 70 to 100 percent damage in some villages/districts have been confirmed. Estimates now are that 50 to 70 percent of the population is living outside of their homes and in the hills. This number could be higher as more information becomes available. If the percentage of damage holds true for the north coast, it could be that over 55,000 people have been displaced
  • With an estimated population of 69,000, it has been reported that a majority have now moved to higher ground with major implications for emergency and humanitarian assistance
  • An increase in diarrhoeal disease cases in Sinabang has been reported. At this stage, the situation is being monitored
  • The water situation in rural areas has eased due to rains which have filled spring wells
  • Destruction of storage facilities has added to the burden of finding adequate space to store received goods pending onward distribution
  • Access across the island is still difficult and no estimate is available of when the road use may be possible again with 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
Pulau Banyak (Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Province)
  • After Peace Winds returned from visit of three of the Banyak islands and reported no deaths or injured persons, no other definite new feedback has yet surfaced.
  • SurfAid has confirmed that there have been no deaths in the Banyak Islands and the medical situation is stable
  • It is estimated that there are 3,000 IDPs on the islands. As people have been forced to abandon their homes as a large number of low-lying houses have been flooded
  • The islands have sunk by half to one meter as a result of the March 28 earthquake and many coastal dwelling villagers have been evacuated to higher ground
  • Wells have been contaminated by saltwater following a one-meter high surge which hit the villages in the Banyak Islands
  • The port remains operational but shows significant evidence of some damage
Singkil (Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Province)
  • Government official report of deaths of 15 people and a total of 1425 injury cases treated in the Hospital
  • Communication with Singkil is difficult as telecom office destroyed along with the equipment
  • Residents’ report of 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
  • The town water supply is not working and due to seawater ingress, and problems with the well water.
  • Damage to both wooden and concrete structures, according to preliminary estimates, is about 80% in Singkil
  • Food, water and generators to supply electricity are the most needed items.

The Impact on Health Service and Health related facilities

  • The hospital in Gunung Sitoli is operational, with operation room functioning again although without any x-ray tools available. Electricity being supplied by generators.
  • Semeulue Hospital reported 40% structural damage and 60% of medical tools destroyed.

Central government support

  • The Indonesian government has announced that the emergency phase for this quake would last approximately one month.
  • Doctors and nurses are still arriving in Sibolga from Yogya, Pekan Baru and Palembang on the way to Nias.
  • Central government has welcomed the support, both medical and logistical, provided by foreign military forces.

WHO / MOH response to the disaster

  • The communicable diseases early warming system is being set up on Nias. WHO will support the Provincial Health Office to do this as there is a WHO epidemiologist present at Nias
  • A mobile hospital of the Russian Ministry of Emergency has arrived and is fully operational on Nias Island with a 33-member team comprising of doctors, nurses and rescuers with their dogs
  • Blood bags for transfusion are on their way from Jakarta. The status of cold chain on Nias is not known, however. The power is back and it is assumed that the cold chain is available at the hospital
  • WHO is initiating coordination of the international relief efforts in the health sector in Semeulue. WHO continues to provide medical supplies to health organizations working on the ground
  • WHO is facilitating a daily health coordination meeting for medical emergency response and emergency medical supplies for the Nias relief operations in Medan
  • WHO’s ground staff in Nias includes a medical co-coordinator, water and sanitation 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

WHO in Simeulue

  • WHO is initiating coordination of international relief efforts in the health sector to Simeulue.
  • WHO continues to provide medical supplies to health organizations working on the ground

Provincial and district response to the disaster

  • PHO team from NAD has brought 40 packs of medicine to the Aceh Singkil District.
  • Although coordination meeting have been done with the Governor and the PHO, logistics distribution still not systematic and not selective.
  • Significant rehabilitation has been carried out on cellular telecommunications, electricity and water supplies.
  • The PHO in Nias is mapping the health centre catchments areas and assigning NGO’s to work in each catchments area. So far 6 have already been assigned out of the total 28
  • 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

Foreign support and response to the disaster

  • The US Naval ship USS Mercy is expected to arrive but not fully operational until several days. Evacuations will also be done by Sea Hawk helicopters from the USS Niagara support ship if needed. No patients will be med evacuated to Medan or Sibilga from then on.
  • 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.
  • The Singaporean Medical team has treated 553 outpatients, mostly with infected/neglected wounds. The Government of Singapore has sent a humanitarian assistance team to Nias Island comprising 3 Chinook helicopters, a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) medical team and a Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF), Disaster, Assistance and Rescue Team (DART). The 3 Chinook helicopters will support Indonesia’s transportation needs and carry out medical evacuation in the disaster area. They will be joined by representatives from the Singapore Red Cross and Mercy Relief. The SAF will also deploy a C-130 transport plane to ferry additional personnel and relief supplies.
  • Australia and AusAid coordinate aid through effective SurfAid teams, SurfAid International is still continuing to search and aid villages not yet reached by outside help.
  • Australia said it was flying in additional military medics and supplies after receiving initial reports from an advance team on Nias after having already increased emergency aid yesterday: 3rd RAAF plane, HMAS Kanimbla, 2 Sea King Helicopters, $1 million for aid.
  • Russian Federal Government yesterday to send aid using IL-76 plane through Medan. Consisting of a team of 48 rescuers and medic, bringing transportable medical equipment.
  • JICA (Japan international Cooperation Agency) sends rescue medic team of 11 persons (doctors, nurses, and paramedics). Also supplies in form of food, drugs and medicine, tents, beds and sleeping bags, electricity generators, water purification tools and other daily tools.
  • The Philippines Government has dispatched a 16-member medical team to the earthquake-affected area. The team will determine the health needs of the victims as well as ensure the supply of safe potable water, set up proper waste disposal and implement food safety measures.
  • UN bodies that continue to participate is aid among others: UN-OCHA, UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP, WHO, ION as for international NGOs are OXFAM, CARE, SurfAID, JICA, International Rescue Team, ICRC, also NGO’s from countries such as Singapore, Australia, Poland, Hungary, France etc.

Immediate needs

  • There is a need to revitalize health services at the health centre level in Nias. The Provincial Health Office is looking for NGOs willing to work in these areas
  • Emergency medical care, trauma care, especially general surgeons and orthopedics for orthopaedic injuries, severe crushed injuries, head and spinal trauma.
  • There is still specific need for Tetanus Toxoid
  • Restoration of water supply
  • Electricity generators and infrastructure recovery including electricity and telecommunications
  • Special transportation services to reach affected areas and evacuate critically injured
  • Water and food is urgently needed
  • Rubble removing equipment and metal cutting gear has been identified as an ongoing priority
  • Fuel supply remains a problem leading to distribution bottlenecks
  • Shelter (tents).

Contact persons in Indonesia

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

Name Designation Organization Contact phone Fax E-mail
Dr. Mulya A. Hasjmi Sp. B. Head of Department Center for Emergency preparedness and response (PPMK) MOH 081533764161 021-5271111
Dr. Kyaw Win (Vijay Nath) Medical Officer (Medan) EHA, WHO 021-5204349, 0811933821, 86811020053 (satellite phone) 021-5201164
Dr Anshu Banerjee Field Operations Manager (Banda Aceh) WHO 08121064878 +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.

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