Nias Yet to Receive Aid 10 Days After Quake

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Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Various sources have indicated that as of today no significant international aid has arrived in the island of Nias -- a small volcanic island off the coast (North Sumatra province, Indonesia) -- a full ten days after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake occurred. These observations were noted by former Indonesian central parliament member Firman Jaya Daeli, activists from Howu-howu (a Dutch NGO), and Surf Aid International.

Most international aid in Indonesia has been focused on the province of Naggroe Aceh Darussalam (Aceh), as it is where the biggest number of dead has been reported.

There has also been other reports from local media that the island of Simeulue is suffering similar fate.

Although the number of dead in these two islands is relatively small compared to other areas, the number of people left homeless is far from insignificant. In Simeulue of the 15 000 households 7 500 have permanently lost their homes. The number of destroyed houses in Nias is estimated at 4 500. Infrastructure damage, leading to slow distribution of food aid, has lead to the very real possibility of widespread starvation.

Early reports of the situation in Nais suggested the islands were "submerged" and "obliterated" [1], however these stories were later suggested to have been greatly exaggerated [2], fortunately most of the islands estimated 600,000 inhabitants were spared loss of life. The estimated death toll is over 100. Eleven members of a Taiwanese medical team arrived on Nias on December 31 [3] most of whom relocated to Aceh due to more pressing need.

The island is popular with surfers who have mounted a considerable grassroots campaign to provide aid to the island (see links below).

Communication to and from the isolated island proves to be difficult.

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