Singapore Civil Defence Force sends team to assess Aceh earthquake damage

The Emergency Response team will determine critical resources and send back information to Singapore

Aceh earthquake
Indonesian rescue workers carry a survivor from a fallen building after an earthquake in Trienggadeng Reuters

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) will send a team of two officers to Indonesia on Thursday to assess the damage caused by the 6.5-magnitude earthquake that struck Aceh province on 7 December. The team, which is a part of a five-man ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ERAT), will send back information to the nation after determining critical resources like tents, medical kits, and sanitation facilities required in the affected areas.

The news is confirmed by an official statement released by SCDF. The Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday extended its condolences to Indonesia and said that Singapore is ready to extend help to the Muslim majority country to cope up with the devastation the disaster left behind. "The Government of Singapore expresses our deepest condolences to the Government of Indonesia and the families of the victims in this time of grief," said MFA in a statement.

"MFA is in touch with the local authorities and Singapore stands ready to assist if required," it added.

Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had also sent their condolences to Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Wednesday.

"On behalf of the government of Singapore, I express my heartfelt condolences to those who have lost their loved ones. Singapore stands ready to assist Indonesia in whatever way we can," wrote the prime minister in his letter.

Also read: Aceh earthquake: 100 dead, scores missing; medical facilities stretched as injured pile up

Moreover, the Singapore President said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Indonesia during this difficult period."

While the death toll from the earthquake that shook the Aceh province early on Wednesday has gone up to nearly hundred and scores are missing, the country's disaster management agency warned the number of casualties might rise.

Also read: Indonesia quake: Aceh is not alone says Widodo but rescue and relief remain crippled

The Indonesian Red Crescent confirmed this, saying "there isn't enough medical staff around." Many of the injured were treated in hospital corridors and hastily erected disaster tents, AFP reported.

The massive earthquake struck 130 km southeast of Banda Aceh on Indonesia's Sumatra island. The authorities did not issue a tsunami warning. The province was among the places that suffered the most devastation in the 2004 tsunami.