03 October 2009
A team of UK search and rescue experts is being sent to Indonesia by the Department for International Development (DFID) to help survivors of the Padang earthquake.
An RAF C17 plane carrying 65 search and rescue experts and specialised equipment needed to help locate victims of the earthquake took off at 03:45 GMT this morning (Saturday). It is expected to arrive in Padang later tonight.
The search and rescue team is comprised of UK firefighters trained in emergency search and rescue techniques. They will work with the Government of Indonesia to help with life saving and recovery.
Staff from UK aid agencies will also be travelling on the plane.
DFID is also sending an emergency response team to Indonesia to assess the scale of the disaster. Working with other international relief organisations, they will help with the combined relief effort and assess what additional support the UK can provide.
In addition, a DFID humanitarian expert is already on the way to Sumatra as a member of the UN’s assessment mission, to assess and report on the disaster.
International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said:
"Thousands of people still remain trapped under the rubble in Padang and their hopes of survival decrease the longer they remain.
"The UK’s fire and rescue experts will help provide a lifeline.
"In addition, we stand ready to assist Government of Indonesia and are in regular contact with the Indonesian authorities, other donors and agencies in Jakarta to discuss their needs."
Notes to Editors
The earthquake that measured 7.6 on the Richter scale struck 50km from Padang at 17.36 local time on 30th September 2009. The initial shock and the resultant aftershocks have caused widespread devastation in Western Sumatra. Many buildings, including hospitals and schools have collapsed and thousands of civilians are trapped.
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RAF crew load specialist search and rescue equipment onto the UK aid flight. Image credit: RAF / Cpl Laura Bibby. Crown copyright
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