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Rural Quake Victims Still Not Getting Aid in Indonesia


Some rural areas of Indonesia's central-Java earthquake zone are still not getting food and supplies, four days after the 6.3 magnitude temblor killed more than 5,800 people and left 200,000 homeless. As international aid workers say they are tackling storage and distribution problems, some locals are helping in their own way.

A flatbed Toyota truck carrying food and medicine pulls up to Sarian, an earthquake decimated village in central Java.

The supplies are for its 350 residents, but the aid is not from the Indonesian government or from an established assistance group. Subardjo, a master furniture maker, bought $100 worth of noodles, water, and medicines with his own money. He spent the day driving from town to town in his truck, delivering them. Subardjo says he wants to help.

"But I have many family in other village," he said. "All my family other village, all is very, very bad."

Sarian resident Pomidi, a schoolteacher, says when the quake struck Saturday, he was hit by falling debris as he ran from his house. He wears a motorcycle helmet to cover an open head wound that has yet to be treated. He says international aid has not yet arrived, but family members from outside the area have chipped in - some from Sumatra and other places in Java.

The U.N.'s World Food Program spokesperson Barry Came says his organization has delivered 165 metric tons of supplies to the local "poskos", or emergency centers - but things are still disorganized.

"And from there it just sort of sits - and either people come to the posko, and pick it up - if they know that it is there," said Came. "Or whoever is in charge of the posko, and this is kind of vague because sometimes there is no one in charge, will get it to who they think it is, so essentially the food disappears, we really do not know what happens - we cannot monitor it."

Came says these problems should be solved in the next day as the WFP introduces a supply tracking system and brings 10 portable warehouses from Aceh to store food safely. He says this is a long-term process as the WFP expects it will need to feed 100,000 people for the next two months.

The Indonesian military is now using a half-dozen helicopters to distribute aid to outlying areas.

More than 20 countries have donated money, supplies or personnel to help. The Indonesian government has declared a three-month emergency and set aside more than $100 million for recovery.

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