UN says 'needs are vast' after Indonesian tsunami


PALU, Indonesia (AP) — The U.N. says its humanitarian office is reporting that "needs are vast" after the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, with people urgently requiring shelter, clean water, food, fuel and emergency medical care.

U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said today U.N. and relief agencies are on the ground or en route. He said the agencies are working closely with the government to provide technical support.

Haq told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York that water is the main issue because most of the water supply infrastructure has been damaged.

He says the Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs has asked the U.N. children's agency, UNICEF, to send social workers to the affected area to support children who are alone or became separated from their families.

Haq says the World Health Organization is warning that a lack of shelter and damaged water sanitation facilities could lead to outbreaks of communicable diseases.

Indonesia's disaster agency says the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami disaster is now 1,234.

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