News World More than 45,000 displaced by Aceh earthquake

More than 45,000 displaced by Aceh earthquake

Indonesia earhtquake
Indonesian women and children displaced by an earthquake rest under a tent in Pidie Jaya, Aceh province.
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The number of people displaced by this week’s earthquake in the Indonesian province of Aceh has risen to more than 45,000.

Four days after the quake hit the Pidie Jaya Regency the death toll reached 101, and a better sense of the widespread destruction has emerged.

Latest figures issued from the Indonesian emergency management agency in Jakarta, showed more than 11,000 homes were damaged in the quake, along with 152 mosques, 55 bridges and more than 14,000 metres of public road.

The Indonesian Government pledged more aid, announcing those with severe damage to their homes would receive a grant of 40 million rupiah ($4,000) and more minor damage would receive 20 million rupiah ($2,000).

Indonesia is accepting international help, with Australia pledging $1 million in humanitarian assistance.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced Australia’s support would go towards essential household items, shelter, health and first aid.

Indonesia quake
Some of the temporary accommodation.

“We will also provide 1,500 family kits that include emergency household and hygiene items, 2,200 tarpaulins and 100 tents and will help 5,500 people in the worst-affected areas,” Ms Bishop said in a statement.

The sound of heavy machinery rings out at the sites of collapsed buildings across the district.

Rescue effort continues

One of the worst hit was a popular market in the town of Meureudu, where up to 18 bodies are believed to have been pulled from the rubble.

On Friday, crews worked to remove the rubble after two sniffer dogs indicated there could still be people underground.

Dog handler Fitriana Suprapti told the ABC both dogs had barked repeatedly when taken into the site, a sign there could still be life under the rubble.

“If the victim is alive the dog will be barking around 15 to 20 times,” she said adding that one of the dogs had done so.

Indonesia earthquake
Rescuers with a sniffer dog (complete with tennis ball).

But, by the end of the day nothing had been found and efforts were to resume again in the morning.

The head of the search and rescue operation, Bambang Solelistyo, told the ABC workers had 14 days to recover any missing bodies before handing over the job to other teams to clear sites and rebuild.

“Everything has to be clean. Within 14 days this is an emergency area and after that it’s for other institutions,” Mr Solelistyo said.

Of the dead, 92 have been identified, of which at least a dozen were children.

Many of the tens of thousands of homeless have stayed at the 30 or so temporary shelters.

Others like Nasrul Rusli did not lose their homes but had their businesses destroyed.

“If we look at the economical and physical damages it’s incredible,” Mr Rusli said.

“For those who experienced the disaster, it’s incredibly devastating.”