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UN monitors Indonesia after earthquake rattles Aceh province

New York, July 3 : The United Nations emergency relief arm is coordinating with local authorities and agencies to monitor the northern tip of Sumatra Island after a strong earthquake rocked Indonesia's Aceh province.


"The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that an earthquake of magnitude 6.2 struck," UN spokesperson for the Secretary-General, Eduardo del Buey told journalists in here.

The national disaster authorities have confirmed 2 dead and some 150 injured in the Bener

Meriah and Aceh Tengga districts, del Buey said.

Earlier this year, Indonesia and the other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) participated in a roundtable on building resilience to natural disasters and major economic crises.

The roundtable was guided by a new ESCAP study which found that multiple shocks are occurring with increased frequency and are converging in new ways.

At the forum, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson issued an urgent call to protect the poor and vulnerable during natural disasters and economic crises.

"We definitely need to make disaster risk reduction part of the development paradigm and the post 2015 development agenda and reach out to the private sector, civil society, academia and the scientific world," he said.

In April of 2012, an 8.6-magnitude earthquake struck 437 kilometres off the coast of Sumatra causing at least eight countries to issue tsunami alerts. The moves were praised by OCHA for their level of preparedness and early warning systems

At the time, evacuation orders were issued for coastal areas at risk in Indonesia followed by Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and Myanmar. Two hours later an 8.2-magnitude aftershock triggered a second wave of tsunami warnings across the region.

In the eight years since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed more than 226,000 people following a 9.1-magnitude earthquake, affected countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka have invested heavily in disaster response capacity and early warning systems.

--IBNS (Posted on 03-07-2013)

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