22 Jun 2010

Relief supplies heading to quake-hit West Papua island

1:36 pm on 22 June 2010

The authorities in Indonesia are sending tents, food and medical supplies by helicopter to the remote island in West Papua where more than 4000 people have made homeless by an earthquake.

Seventeen people died on the island of Yapen in 7.1 magnitude quake on 16 June.

Others are still missing, and about 150 seriously injured people are being evacuated by helicopter.

The International Red Cross says 2500 homes were destroyed and many thousands more damaged.

Its head of delegation in Indonesia, Bob McKerrow, says aerial photographs show the collapsed houses.

Mr McKerrow says the priority is to get food to the area. "In the coastal areas people can still go fishing and there's still fruit and vegetables available but as the days pass there's a lack of staple food so that's a priority at the moment," he says.

He says people are able to make temporary shelters out of the debris.