humedica-Team in Indonesia

by Joachim Panhans,  2006/05/27

Kaufbeuren/ Yogyarkata, 27.05.2006 – A three-man medical team from humedica consisting of Dr. Francis Porter, Dr. Mathias Ortmann and Team Leader Markus Köhler, along with Dr. Bernd Stahlecke from Apotheker ohne Grenzen (Pharmacists without Borders), left this evening from the Munich airport to go to the earthquake affected region in Yogyarkarta, located on the Indonesian island of Java.

Emergency Health Kits for 3000 People

The team is bringing enough equipment and emergency health kits along to treat 3000 people. In Jakarta, the German helpers will be met by an employee from the humedica partner organization Helimission (Trogen, Switzerland), who will be providing transportation for the team and their equipment into the disaster area.

The earthquake had a magnitude of 6.2 on the Richter scale, and arrived in the early morning hours. The epicenter was located 37 km south of the city of Yogyakarta, (pop. 500,000), which is situated on the densely populated main Indonesian island of Java.

Over 4200 Dead on the Island of Java

Because of the severity of the shocks, the Ministry of Social Affairs estimates the number of casualties to have risen above 4,200. Many thousands of people were injured and countless are still buried under the rubble. Particularly hard hit was the university city of Yogyakarta; not only have thousands of homes been destroyed, but parts of the infrastructure in and around the city as well, including the Yogyakarta airport.

Rural Regions Hit

Due to the huge onslaught of injured people, the hospitals are extremely overcrowded, and don’t have the ability to help the number people in need of care. Many of the injured have to lie on the floor of the hallways or have been placed outside on the grounds of the hospital. The rural regions have been hit as well, and because most of the streets and telephone lines into these areas have been destroyed or damaged, the number of casualties there could still rise.

Tsunami Panic

Because the earthquake’s epicenter was located in the ocean, the fear of a tsunami was large, and thousands of coastal residents sought refuge in higher grounds, causing even more chaos to the area.

Active Mount Merapi

According to experts, the earthquake has caused increased activity in the already active volcano, and as a result, there have been reports that Mount Merapi has hurtled clouds of ash and gas high into the air, causing widespread evacuations in the area. Luckily, though, there have been no reports of injuries from the volcanic activity.

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