In the wake of Wednesday’s deadly earthquake on the island of Sumatra, International Medical Corps is working closely with its partner in Indonesia, Ambulan 118, a national organization of emergency responders.
The earthquake, off the coast of Padang, has killed 75 people so far, but authorities expect the toll to climb given the thousands of people believed still trapped under buildings. Power and telecommunications have been cut, further complicating rescue efforts.
A 10-member team from Ambulan 118, including members of the Collapsed Structure Search and Rescue Team, is working with the Ministry of Health and The National Disaster Management Agency to rescue those trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings, which include a hospital, a clinic as well as hotels, schools, and shops.
International Medical Corps along side Ambulan 118 has conducted ongoing Disaster Management and Response training programs with disaster simulations for government departments mandated with disaster response in over 10 provinces in Indonesia. Along with local partners, International Medical Corps has raised the capacity of over 1,000 medical personnel and laymen (including police, firemen, search and rescue personnel and community leaders) in emergency medical response and disaster management. This training and simulation was also conducted in Padang, West Sumatra. Over 200 government officials participated in the earthquake simulation. Earthquakes, volcanoes and other seismic activity occur frequently in the region; the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, to which International Medical Corps was one of the first organizations to respond, claimed nearly 230,000 lives.