First a typhoon hit the Philippines and Vietnam, then a tsunami hit Samoa and Tonga, and now an earthquake has hit the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
While the number of deaths and injuries rise, the Red Cross is preparing emergency aid to several areas in Asia affected by the natural disasters. But the natural disasters have hit with such short intervals that the task is overwhelming, says Peder Damm, who is working in Indonesia for the Danish Red Cross.
– The earthquake in Sumatra is the fourth disaster that hits the region this week. First the typhoon in the Philippines and Vietnam, then the tsunami in Samoa and Tonga, and subsequently the earthquake in Sumatra. The Red Cross, are trying to help as quickly as possible, but it’s hard with four operations at once, Peder Damm says.
Difficult to get information
Since the Indonesian island of Sumatra was hit by the violent earthquake it has been difficult to get information out, partly because of blackouts.
– It is a reasonably densely populated area, and at the moment 75 have been reported dead. Unfortunately this is a figure which will probably grow as we get more details. Right now we hear that hundreds of buildings have collapsed and as we get updated information from the area this number will grow, Peder Damm estimates.
In Samoa and Tonga international sources are saying that up to 100 people have been killed, while around 15,000 people for the time being are believed to be directly affected by the tsunami.
In the Philippines 570,000 people have been directly affected by the typhoon Ketsana. The work that the Red Cross is doing here is providing shelter, food and clean drinking water.
Ketsana has also hit Vietnam, where an estimated three million people are affected.