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Thursday 6 January 2005

Refugee camps to be built to house half a million in Indonesia, UN says

JAKARTA (AP): Camps for up to 500,000 refugees from last week's earthquake and tsunami will be built on Indonesia's Sumatra island, a UN official said on Wednesday.

Conditions at existing camps that have popped up in the region will also be improved to meet international standards, said Michael Elmquist, who is heading the UN relief effort in Aceh.

Indonesian authorities have agreed to ensure families are able to stay together and services, such as clean drinking water and latrines, are provided, he said.

Elmquist said the government has begun to break ground on four camps around Banda Aceh, the main city in northern Sumatra. The United Nations has plans to provide tents and other equipment for up to 500,000 if necessary, he said.

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