National

SBY has no plans yet to
visit Aceh quake victims

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono did not have any immediate plans to visit Bener Meriah regency in Aceh province where a 6.2 magnitude earthquake left at least 22 people dead on Tuesday afternoon, presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said on Wednesday.

“There is no such plan yet. The President has been informed that the situation is gradually getting back to normal. There were indeed victims of the disaster but the situation has been handled well,”
Julian told reporters at the State Palace.

Yudhoyono had also ordered relevant Cabinet members to heighten coordination in accordance with the needs of the Acehnese suffering from the quake, Julian added.

The epicenter of the quake was 35 kilometers southwest of Bener Meriah, at a depth of 10 kilometers, according to the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG). Apart from the fatalities, more than 200 people were also reportedly injured while thousands of homes and other buildings were heavily damaged.

“The President has also asked the National Police and the military to remain on standby in case the situation, based on updates from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency [BNPB], requires their assistance,” Julian said.

Yudhoyono, via his Twitter account @SBYudhoyono, said that he had instructed the BNPB and relevant institutions to carry out rescue operations and to evacuate victims.

Yudhoyono said that, according to the BNPB’s report, emergency relief for the victims and refugees had begun to be distributed.

“One Air Force helicopter initially dispatched to tackle fire extinguishing operations in Pekanbaru, Riau, has been diverted to work on emergency relief distribution for earthquake victims in Aceh,” Yudhoyono said.

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