Indonesia earthquake: CARE team leads assessment to affected areas

(Jakarta) A strong 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the province of Aceh, Indonesia in the early morning hours, completely flattening homes and buildings, including a hospital.

“Search teams have worked all day to rescue survivors. We don’t know how many people are still buried under the rubble, yet we fear it will be hundreds. It’s now getting dark here, this will seriously hamper the rescue efforts. Roads are damaged and transport is disrupted,” says Helen Vanwel, a Canadian serving as CARE’s country director in Indonesia.

While reports on casualties and damage come in, it will take several more days to get a full picture of the impact.

“We are sending an assessment team to the affected area to plan our emergency response according to people’s needs. Immediate assistance after such a devastating disaster is life-saving. We know from experience that after an earthquake of such a scale, people urgently need water, shelter, food and medicine,” Vanwel says.

CARE is coordinating closely with the government and other organizations and will lead a joint assessment mission of four international aid organizations.

“Coordination in disasters is key. We are working together to ensure we can reach everyone and don’t duplicate efforts,” according to Vanwel.

CARE is mainly concerned about the needs of the most vulnerable people, particularly women and girls, who will be the most affected given that they have to care for their families, look after the elderly and ill and may not have access to humanitarian aid.

CARE has worked in Indonesia since 1967, and has responded to several emergencies, including the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004. Through its relief and recovery projects after the tsunami, CARE assisted more than 350,000 people in Banda Aceh and Aceh Besar, and on the island of Simeulue. While CARE’s immediate response was the delivery of life-saving food, water and supplies, the Tsunami Response Program expanded its focus on a development strategy dedicated to working with the people of Aceh to rebuild their houses, health care systems, water and sanitation facilities, livelihoods, schools and community services.


CARE has a Canadian spokesperson in Indonesia. To arrange an interview, contact:

Darcy Knoll
Communications Specialist | CARE Canada | +1.613.790.2134