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Indonesian earthquake: EI investigates damages to education

EI is currently looking into the possible damages to education in the areas affected by the 6.3 richter scale earthquake that hit the island of Java in Indonesia on 27 May. The main areas affected were Klaten, Bantul and the ancient city of Yogyakarta.

At least 30 000 people have been injured and more than 105 000 homes destroyed or damaged, leaving hundreds of thousands of people displaced. On 5 June, Indonesian officials revised down the quake death toll from 6 234 to 5 782, as aid supplies helped survivors move forward on the long road to recovery. The UN said that distribution of food, medicines and water had greatly improved in the devastated areas of this province in central Java. However, urgent need has been emphasized to provide shelter to some 340 000 left homeless. They have to spend the tenth night in the open, many of them under rudimentary tents made of plastic sheeting and bamboo poles. Most of the homes destroyed were in Klaten and Bantul districts. The Indonesian government has earmarked US$160 million to rebuild more than 200 000 homes. Another top priority is the provision of more clean water to avert widespread sanitation problems in the short term. The water-borne and sanitation-related diseases are on high risk levels. The UN has estimated that around US$100 million is needed over the next six months to cope the disaster. The health care situation has improved dramatically, as the number of patients in the hospitals has been reduced, which initially were overwhelmed by tens of thousands of people seeking treatment for quake-related injuries in the first days of the tragedy. On 5 June, in a sign that life was returning to normal, hundreds of primary school students sat for final exams inside tents and makeshift shelters, as hundreds of schools were flattened in the 27 May earthquake. The extent of the damages to schools and the exact number of affected teachers and school children have not yet been determined. To this end, EI's Asia-Pacific Regional Office is in contact with the local leaders of affiliate, the "Persatuan Guru Republik Indonesia" (Teachers' Association of the Republic of Indonesia) - PGRI, and is waiting for the field reports from authorities in Yogyakarta and is in contact with the PGRI local leaders in the area. In a related development, Indonesian authorities evacuated some 650 people living near Mount Merapi (located very near the earthquake site) to safety as activities have been on the increase at the volcano for the ninth consecutive day since the earthquake hit the region. More information will follow.

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