Heavy rains in Sumatra could lead to the spread of waterbourne diseases following the earthquake which has killed hundreds of people.
ActionAid’s Hanizam Ghani in Banda Ache said: "Parts of Sumatra are experiencing heavy rains which are worsening an already dreadful situation. There is a real fear that unhygienic conditions could lead to the spread of waterborne diseases like diarrhoea and cholera."
With houses, hotels and hospitals destroyed the death toll is expected to rise sharply, ActionAid says that the next 24-48 hours of the rescue phase are crucial.
Medical services need to reach people in time to avoid long-term disabilities from initial injuries. Special needs of women and children such as security and nutrition must be considered.Hanizam Ghani continued: "Our experience of previous earthquakes such as Indonesia, Kashmir and Gujarat shows that what people need immediately are tents, food, water and medical supplies. But as well as meeting physical needs, psychological care is also vital following a traumatic event like this."
ActionAid’s assessment teams will soon be in the area and aim to work with local people on the ground as part of the rescue and relief operations.