The international aid effort to help the survivors of the Indonesian earthquake is gathering pace. A Japanese relief crew has set up a field hospital in Bantul – the hardest hit area on Java island. It is one of several local and international teams already on the ground dealing with the 20,000 injured in Saturday’s 6.3 magnitude quake, which claimed more than 5,000 lives.
As other aid starts to trickle in, millions of euros have already been pledged from abroad, including three million from the European Union and more than twice that from Britain. The tremor – which was centred near the former Javanese royal capital of Yogyakarta – has left tens of thousands homeless. Many of them now face the grim task of salvaging what they can from the ruins of their homes and recovering the dead. Providing survivors with shelter and clean water is a priority. The tsunami of 2004 means structures are already in place for provision of aid. The UN says that is likely to speed up the process, though the situation on the ground remains desperate, as many survivors prepare to spend yet another night in the open or in makeshift shelters.