Page last updated at 16:58 GMT, Sunday, 4 October 2009 17:58 UK

Disaster appeal for quake victims

A man inspects damage in Padang
Relief efforts will aim to deliver clean water supplies and shelter to survivors

A major appeal has been launched by the Disasters Emergency Committee to help the victims of the earthquake and typhoons in south east Asia.

The appeal came as British rescue teams said work in the region was moving away from rescue towards relief.

About 1,000 people have died since the tremor struck last Wednesday.

A British rescue worker said fears that another 3,000 people are buried in the rubble could be an over-estimation as damage to buildings was limited.

The United Nations said that in western Sumatra more than 10,000 homes had collapsed, 19 public facilities had been badly damaged, 50 schools destroyed and more than 80 mosques severely damaged by the earthquake.

One British disaster team, the International Rescue Corps, arrived in Padang on Saturday.

WEST SUMATRA QUAKES
Map
First quake struck on Wednesday at 1716 local (1016 GMT) under sea north-west of Padang
Second quake followed on Thursday at 0852 local

Willie McMartin, the organisation's operational director, told BBC News the city was not as badly damaged as he had feared.

He said: "The city has not been wiped out. I would say between 80% and 90% of it is still standing. Most of the damage is in shopping precincts and at a hotel and university building."

Mr McMartin said his team had recovered about 20 bodies and that no-one had been found alive in Padang for two days.

He said: "I'm pretty certain that the rescue work will finish today and we'll move into the relief and rebuilding phase to help those that survived."

Mr McMartin said two key roads linking outlying districts had been reopened. There are fears that rescue teams will find more casualties in the isolated villages but Mr McMartin was more optimistic.

He said: "Many people here live in single story homes so generally speaking they have suffered cuts and bruises. Yes, they need help, but so far there haven't been the fatalities we feared that you get from being crushed by concrete."

Rapid withdrawal

He said there were up to 30 teams like his in Padang and that some medical teams were spending their time "giving sweets to local kids" because the number of injuries was not as bad as had been feared.

PADANG: KEY FACTS
Population of 900,000, capital of West Sumatra province
On coastal plain, surrounded by mountains inland
Lies on one of world's most active fault lines
Near major quake epicentres in March 2007 and April 2005

A rescue team from Rapid UK is expected to be back in Britain on Tuesday after withdrawing from Indonesia as the operation there changed. A second Rapid group has been stood down.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) - which represents a group of charities including Oxfam - will lead the appeals.

Oxfam's Ian Bray, in Sumatra, said: "The needs are great and we will be bolstering our aid response in the coming days to assist families caught up in this grave disaster."

He added: "The support of the British public is vital to help us help the people of Sumatra."

The DEC is also asking for donations for victims of typhoons that ripped through parts of the Philippines and Vietnam.

Tsunami search

Meanwhile, UK officials in the south Pacific are still trying to trace up to 16 British nationals who may have been in the area when a tsunami struck on Tuesday.

At least 169 people were killed and many thousands of others were left homeless.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We have received reports of a number of British nationals on Samoa or in the surrounding region that we have not yet been in contact with.

"Communications on the island remain severely disrupted. Phone lines are down and many roads are impassable."



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