By Ra-ees Moerat
South African humanitarian agency Al Imdaad Foundation is responding to the urgent needs of Indonesians affected by the Aceh earthquake, which has killed at least 102 people. A strong earthquake, 6.5 on the Richter scale, struck off the coast of Aceh on the Indonesian Island, Sumatra on Tuesday.
International Project Coordinator and Trustee of Al-Imdaad Foundation, Qari Ziyaad Patel, says that the nature of the geographical location of Indonesia makes it vulnerable to earthquakes.
“Indonesia lies on the pacific ring of fire, which means that the area is very much prone to earthquakes. If the earthquake erupts deep down beneath the seabed, it may result in a tsunami like it did in 2004,” he says.
“It is a poverty-stricken, yet very religious area and very Islamic. The people are very humble and you can see that Islam is very strong in that region. When an earthquake strikes a poor area like this, it is an extra burden on these people,” he says.
Al-Imdaad Foundation has had an active office in Indonesia for the last 11 years. Patel says that when the earthquake struck, their office jumped into action. However, the organisation has not conducted any relief operations, yet.
“We are currently in the assessment phase and so far, we have gathered that there was no tsunami triggered. We’ve also learnt that about 25 people have died and approximately 97 people are severely injured with 150 people injured – and figures are likely to increase,” he says.
He states that the situation is currently under control and is not as serious as the earthquakes that happened in the past, in the region.
“Every earthquake is a disaster that we need to attend to. This one however, is not as strong. The impact and the destruction is not as serious as the ones we had before,” he says.
A total of six mosques were severely damaged, as well as one school.
“The biggest fear by the Indonesians was that a tsunami could be triggered. As soon the earthquake erupted, immediately, people started running for higher ground,” he affirms.
Al-Imdaad Foundation has a very huge village. The village was constructed after the infamous tsunami of 2004. The village consists of 100 homes, an orphanage, a mosque and a school.
“The village is a very huge project of Al Imdaad Foundation in Banda Aceh. We’ve been working very actively in Banda Aceh, conducting humanitarian aid, hamper distributions and other special distributions,” he says.
Al-Imdaad Foundation will be conducting humanitarian aid towards the damage caused by the latest earthquake.
For more information or to contribute, call 086 1786 243 or visit www.alimdaad.com.