£6m raised in first day of Indonesia earthquake appeal

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Generous Britons have donated more than £6 million to the Indonesia earthquake appeal in just one day.

The death toll stands at 1,500 since last Friday’s 7.5 magnitude tremor and tsunami on the island of Sulawesi, with 200,000 more in desperate need.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) launched its appeal to help survivors on Thursday, with the UK Government pledging to match the first £2 million donated pound for pound.

Oxfam aid worker Irwan Firdaus said he was working to get seven water hydrants set up to allow refugees access to clean drinking water.

He said: “People are desperate for help because they have already spent six nights under the sky.

“Many are in outlying villages and they badly need food and water – there are 60,000 people spread over more than 109 locations.

“We are looking to find good locations to set up facilities so survivors can get clean drinking water in the coming days.”

Plumes of volcanic ash rise out of Mount Soputan from the village of Tombatu, North Sulawesi, Indonesia (Yehezkiel Dondokambey/AP)

“As the full impact of the disaster unfolds, DEC member charities and their partners are ready to help devastated communities to rebuild their lives,” he said. “We would urge people to continue donating.”

Authorities fear casualties and the number of those displaced by the disaster will continue to rise in the coming days.

Aid efforts have been hampered in the past few hours by Mount Soputan in North Sulawesi spewing ash nearly 20,000ft (6,096m) into the sky.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt’s pledge to double the first £2 million in donations means the UK Government will send a total of £5 million to the region, on top of sending a team of six aid workers and a plane-load of aid.

Ms Mordaunt said: “The incredible generosity of the British public on behalf of those left suffering and bereaved in Indonesia is truly heart-warming.

“Your contributions will make a genuine difference to people who need it most.

“Through Aid Match we give the British public the ability to help directly to support people in desperate need by matching your donations pound-for-pound – your generosity has meant an additional £2 million being added to this vital appeal.”

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

A team of five UK humanitarian experts left London for Sulawesi earlier this week, and is now helping to co-ordinate the 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.

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

A £5 donation can be made by texting SUPPORT to 70000, with the text costing £5 and the whole £5 going to the appeal.

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 US dollars to the Indonesia earthquake response.

DfID provided 20% of all contributions to the fund in 2017.

The 15 million US dollars 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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