Life-saving aid supplies en route to Indonesia from UK, says Government

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Life-saving aid supplies will be sent to Indonesia, where a volcano has erupted days after a powerful earthquake and devastating tsunami rocked the island of Sulawesi.

More than 1,500 people are thought to be dead, missing or injured after the 7.5 magnitude tremor and wave last Friday.

Now Mount Soputan in North Sulawesi has spewed ash nearly 20,000ft into the sky, prompting warnings over volcanic ash in the air and hampering aid efforts.

Plumes of volcanic ash rising from Mount Soputan
Plumes of volcanic ash rising from Mount Soputan (Yehezkiel Dondokambey/AP)

Ms Mordaunt said: “It’s essential we get vital UK aid supplies, including shelter kits, to those affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia as quickly as possible. This is extremely challenging given the devastation.

“The UK is a leader in providing emergency humanitarian assistance when disaster strikes and our expertise will help greatly.

  • 1,300 shelter kits
  • 2,300 water purifiers
  • 1,000 solar lanterns

The supplies will leave on a plane from Doncaster airport flying to help more than 70,000 people forced to flee their homes.

“Through our partners, and directly, we are providing funds to support the vulnerable survivors of this catastrophe.

“The UK stands side-by-side with the people of Indonesia who remain in our thoughts at this terrible time. We will help, in the immediate aftermath and in the long-term too.”

Supplies include 1,300 shelter kits, which can accommodate five people each, 2,300 water purifiers and 1,000 solar lanterns.

Ms Mordaunt has also pledged an extra £1 million in aid to support immediate relief efforts on the ground, taking the UK assistance to £3 million.

A team of five UK humanitarian experts left London for Sulawesi earlier this week, and are now helping to coordinate the humanitarian response on the ground.

A sixth team member has joined them, and the UK will keep its support under review.

The UK has also offered the use of HMS Argyll, currently located in Singapore, to support the humanitarian relief effort. The government of Indonesia has thanked the UK Government for this offer, but said it is not needed at this time.

The Department for International Development (DfID) funding is on top of existing UK-funded support through humanitarian agencies on the ground.

These include the DfID-backed UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which has allocated $15 million to the Indonesia earthquake response.

DfID provided 20% of all contributions to the fund in 2017. The $15 million will allow UN agencies and humanitarian organisations to rapidly scale up aid operations providing shelter, clean water and health support.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has almost 300 specialist volunteers and staff carrying out search and rescue missions and providing emergency health assistance on the ground.

The European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) has made 1.5 million euro available to support the relief effort.

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