NEWS ALERT: Huge quakes off Indonesia stir panic. Tsunami watch ultimately lifted. Watching reports from remote areas.
Operation USA is assessing whether emergency international relief assistance is needed in Aceh, Indonesia after a pair of huge earthquakes offshore.
A powerful 8.6 magnitude earthquake and a series of strong aftershocks struck off Indonesia on Wednesday, sending people scurrying from buildings as far away as southern India, but there seemed little risk of a disastrous tsunami as in 2004.
Indonesia has been reported to be checking for damage and casualties but remarkably, no such reports had been received for several hours after the quakes, including in Aceh, the closest province and the area decimated by the disaster eight years ago. However, some areas close to the epicentre are remote so it could take some time to find out if there was any damage.
Operation USA worked intensively over 2 years in the aftermath of the 2004 quake and tsunami which took over 200,000 lives in that same area.
Operation USA funded 7 health clinics (through IOM), an Acehnese language health training school in Meulaboh (IOM), conducted air and sea shipments of emergency supplies and funded a number of follow-up projects aimed at children and those with severe quake/tsunami-related mental health conditions.
Typically, Operation USA consults other agencies–especially those based in the affected country–and decides whether international material aid from as far away as our California headquarters is warranted.