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Sunday May 28, 2006

All our students in Yogyakarta safe


Residents stand next to rubbles of a destroyed building in Yogyakarta, in Central Java.
PETALING JAYA: Malaysian students in Yogyakarta are reported to be safe, the head of chancery of the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta said. 

Hamidah Ashari said religious attache Ismail Abdullah, who is based in Solo, would go to the city to assess the situation there.  

“The students are reported to be safe. The attache is in touch with them,” she said when contacted yesterday. 

The area around the Indonesia royal capital was shaken by a 6.2-magnitude earthquake at 5.50am local time yesterday. More than 2,900 people were killed and thousands others injured. 

Hamidah said there were around 350 Malaysians pursuing their education in the city and there were currently no plans to evacuate them. 

Most of them rented houses in the area. 

However, she added that there was no news of Malaysian tourists in Yogyakarta because the embassy would not know their whereabouts. 

A 56-member Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Relief Team (Smart) flew to Yogyakarta last night to provide assistance. 

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who made the announcement, said the Smart team left at 11pm, along with a medical team comprising five doctors and paramedics from Kuala Lumpur Hospital and the armed forces. 

They also brought with them one tonne of medicines and other emergency supplies such as blankets and other essentials in the RMAF Hercules C-130 aircraft, he added. 

“We decided to send immediate help after we received a request from the Indonesian Government,” he said after launching the Felda Handicraft gallery here yesterday. 

He added that another team of 250 members would leave for Yogyakarta today. 

Najib said Malaysians who wanted to return home would also be transported by the same army aircraft. 

“We have asked the Malaysian Embassy to check on any of our people who may be hurt or missing,” he added. 

A seven-member team from Mercy Malaysia would also be leaving for Yogyakarta at 1pm today. 

Mercy’s chief operating officer Shareen Shariza Abdul Ghani said the team would comprise medical staff including orthopaedic surgeons, nurses and logistics officers. They would help local health officials at Sarjito Hospital. 

“We are appealing for cash to buy drugs and medical equipment as they don’t have enough supplies,” she said, adding that those who wished to help can contact them at 03-4256 9999 or at www.mercy.org.my.  

Meanwhile, there were no reports of tremors being felt in Malaysia despite the Meteorological Services Department saying in a statement that there was a possibility that the southern part of peninsular Malaysia experienced the effects of the Yogyakarta earthquake. 

Checks with various police and fire stations in Johor revealed that no one had reported feeling any tremors. 

AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines said they were operating their flights to Java were operating as normal as none flew to Yogyakarta. 

Yogyakarta’s Adi Sucipto International Airport was closed because it suffered damage from the earthquake.  

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  • If you are a Malaysian affected by the earthquake in Yogyakarta, please send us an email of your experience (with pictures if possible) to newsdesk@thestar.com.my

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