Switzerland rapidly offered the Indonesian authorities its support for the earthquake victims. Around midday on Thursday an advance group of Swiss Rescue members will fly to Sumatra. The search and rescue team will fly from Zurich to Indonesia probably on Thursday evening, taking with them aid material such as plastic covers.
On Wednesday an earthquake of 7.6 on the Richter scale hit Indonesia. The epicentre was near the port of Padang on the island of Sumatra. The present toll of this disaster is 500 dead, many injured and several thousand buried under rubble. Hundreds of houses, numerous roads and bridges have been damaged or destroyed.
Switzerland's aid measures are being coordinated with United Nations organisations. A member of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) will fly to Sumatra with the advance detachment. In addition to the search and rescue teams, other experts will assess the needs of the affected population and initiate immediate emergency measures.
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