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Aid groups arrive in Indonesia following deadly earthquake

Aid groups have arrived in Indonesia to assist in the cleanup and humanitarian effort following Wednesday's earthquake in the Aceh province. Thousands were left homeless following the quake.

Aid groups from within Indonesia and around the world descended on the Aceh province Thursday to help in any way they could following Wednesday's deadly earthquake near Pidie Jaya.

The Indonesian government sent 50 tons of urgent aid to the Aceh province, which included 10 generators, tents, folding beds, baby supplies and body bags. The military is working on an emergency field hospital and sending two dozen doctors, while the Health Ministry is sending a medical team and medicine.

The Red Cross sent aid on Wednesday, which included water trucks. Humanitarian group CARE sent an assessment team of four international aid groups. International charity Oxfam said it would provide hygiene products and tarpaulins, and had emergency response experts ready to travel to the hardest hit areas.

"Every aid and civil society organization is piling into the area with as many boxes of rice, instant noodles, blankets and other aid as they can shift," said Paul Dillon, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration.

Still need more help

Despite the effort, there is much to be done. The director of the Pidie Jaya General Hospital, Erinda, said orthopedic surgeons were needed due to victims suffering from broken bones. "We have doctors coming from other districts and also from other provinces, but we need more surgeons," said Erinda.

Watch video 00:48

Deadly earthquake rocks Indonesia's Aceh province

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the death toll from the earthquake increased to 102 and was expected to rise. About 800 people were injured, 136 seriously, and one person was still missing. More than 11,000 people were displaced and are staying in shelters, mosques or with relatives. "We are racing against time to save people," said Nugroho.

The full extent of the damage is still unknown. Dillon said at least two more days were needed to have a better picture of how many remain displaced.

Pope's message of support

Pope Francis said he was praying for "the victims and their families, for those injured and those who have lost their homes."

In a message from St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis said, "may the Lord give strength to the population and support rescue efforts."

The United States Geological Survey said Wednesday's quake's epicenter was about 18 kilometers northeast of Pidie Jaya at 5:03 am Wednesday. Indonesia is on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an area prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. A magnitude 9.1 earthquake and subsequent tsunami near the Aceh province in December 2004 killed 230,000 people, with most of the deaths occurring in Aceh.

kbd/se (AP, dpa)

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