This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Scott Simon is on jury duty. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

Early this morning a 6.2 magnitude earthquake shook Yogyakarta, Indonesia. More than 2,500 people are reported dead, thousands more are injured. Howard Arfin is with the International Federation of the Red Cross and he joins us from Jakarta, Indonesia, about 250 miles east of Yogyakarta.

Mr. Arfin, can you tell us what you've heard so far about the damage?

Mr. HOWARD ARFIN (GIS Unit Manager Indonesia Delegation, International Federation of the Red Cross): Well, the damage is very extensive, which is leading to so much loss of life and injuries and making it very difficult for us to get relief (intelligible) in. Probably the most strategic being the extent of damage to the airport facilities. So we're having to get all of our emergency relief supplies in over land by truck.

WERTHEIMER: Is it going to be very difficult to do that? How remote is this place?

Mr. ARFIN: Well, Yogyakarta is actually a major city, which is also the cause of so much damage and loss of life and injuries. But on the other hand, because it is in such a densely populated area, we do as the International Red Cross Red Crescent, in support of the local Red Cross, have a lot of stocks pre-positioned in Red Cross branches in the nearby areas.

So we've been able to mobilize those and we got quite a bit of emergency relief supplies on the spot and en route to the disaster zone as we speak.

WERTHEIMER: Are the buildings in this city mainly masonry buildings? Is that why there's so many buildings down?

Mr. ARFIN: Yes, there are a lot of masonry buildings and that is the case of it. They also - the area is very densely populated. And consequently with a lot of people living in close quarters, it leads to this type of a situation. Also at the time of the earthquake, of course, most people were at home, which added to the density of the people who were subject to the falling rubble and debris.

WERTHEIMER: Mr. Arfin, we've all, of course, about the tsunami a year and a half ago, Indonesia was hard hit. Was this place part of the tsunami disaster as well?

Mr. ARFIN: Yogyakarta is on Java and it's quite a distance, perhaps 1,500 miles from the tsunami impact area on the northern island of Sumatra. So as far as the impact, the two are far away from each other. But because there's been so much capacity built up and so much expertise as a result of the tsunami, we're a little bit better prepared now with emergency supplies and personnel to be able to respond more quickly to this recent disaster.

WERTHEIMER: Howard Arfin of the International Federation of the Red Cross, speaking to us from Jakarta. Mr. Arfin, thank you very much.

Mr. ARFIN: Glad to help.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from