Direct Relief Expands Assistance to Indonesia

Direct Relief International has accelerated and expanded a cash grant totalling $60,000 to partner Yayasan Bumi Sehat (YBS), based in Aceh, Sumatra, following the 7.6-magnitude earthquake and aftershocks in Indonesia. YBS staff—including a physician and nurses with emergency medical training—deployed immediately to Padang following last week’s quakes.

An additional $10,000 for emergency services was added to an approved, but not released, $50,000 grant to support YBS’s community-based maternal and child health program in Northern Sumatra that was devastated by the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Funds for the pending grant of $50,000 were available from the remaining interest earnings on designated funds received over the past several years for the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Direct Relief has followed a policy of maintaining interest accrued on tsunami-designated funds within the tsunami fund. The additional $10,000 is available from contributions received for the current spate of Asian emergencies that have affected multiple countries over the past week.

The latest quake has damaged more than 179,000 homes and multi-story public buildings, including three hospitals, killing more than 600 people and injuring almost 3,200. Among the principal health concerns among survivors are treatment of trauma injuries, waterborne diseases, infections from puncture wounds and lacerations caused by rubble, and respiratory conditions, especially among displaced people living in shelters or subject to exposure. People in vulnerable circumstances prior to an emergency, including low-income women and children, are typically made even more vulnerable when emergencies occur.

Direct Relief has worked in partnership with YBS since 2004 to support primary care services, particularly maternal and child care and reproductive health services, for people who are displaced, low-income, and often marginalized. YBS’s expertise in identifying and serving such clients is important to provide appropriate services amidst the large-scale response efforts underway. The additional $10,000 made available is to ensure that the essential maternal and child health services are maintained in Northern Sumatra as the organization deploys its scarce resources to assist in the current crisis.

In addition to the grant released today, Direct Relief continues to coordinate with the health team of Muhammadiyah to provide emergency medical resources to assist in the emergency.

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