A powerful 7.7 magnitude earthquake shook the Solomon Islands in the early hours of Friday 9 December. The epicentre of the quake was located 68 kilometres west of Kirakira, a provincial capital in the Solomon Islands, at a depth of 48 kilometres, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).
Based on an initial assessment, 4052 people in 35 villages have been directly affected. Whilst there have been no reports of major damage or casualties, hundreds of homes have been damaged or destroyed. It is the start of the wet season in the Solomon Islands, so shelter assistance is a priority as there are reports of families sleeping in the open due to damaged or destroyed houses.
World Vision has existing work in the area, and will respond in partnership with the government. World Vision will assist approximately 2000 people affected by the earthquake in the provinces of Makira and Malaita with shelter kits and relief goods such as cooking utensils, axes and tools.
On Wednesday 7 December a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck in Aceh, Indonesia. As of 9 December, the National Disaster Management Authority reports that over 270 buildings, including houses, public facilities and schools, have collapsed or been damaged. Over 600 people have been injured and Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency has the death toll at 99, but this is expected to rise. According to media reports, local hospitals are overwhelmed and facing a shortage of medical personnel, medicine and facilities.
World Vision Indonesia is sending a three-member team to the affected area to see the damage and assess how best to respond. World Vision does not have existing projects in the affected area.
“Initial reports we are receiving have us concerned especially about building collapses and people trapped. My understanding is that, although the tsunami hit the province in 2004, this is the first time such a large earthquake has hit this part of Aceh. There are some especially old public buildings that would be vulnerable to collapse. As a child-focused organisation, we are also very concerned about ensuring children are protected, no matter the impact of the quake.
Getting help to those in need will be challenging since the area is remote. We are already seeing pictures of damaged roads and traffic becomes a problem. In ideal conditions it can take 3-5 hours to reach the impacted areas from the airport, seaport and big cities,” said Margarettha Siregar, World Vision Indonesia Director of Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs.