The Jakarta Post
The administrations of North Sumatra province and Karo regency have been criticized for their lack of commitment to those displaced by the eruptions of Mount Sinabung almost a year ago.
Shohibul Anshor from North Sumatra University's School of Social and Political Sciences said he deplored the tardy progress made by the administrations following the transfer of care from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) some two months ago.
As of Monday, 10,447 evacuees, or 3,143 families, remained at evacuation centers, while 3,683 others, comprising 1,258 families, were staying in rented accommodation.
'These numbers prove the local governments are not serious,' Shohibul told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
He said the administrations could make use of the tactical funds in their budgets to help the evacuees rebuild their homes and lives.
'Here is the weakness of our regional administrations. When they have to help victims of disasters, the money becomes difficult to disburse. But if this were a project, the money would be spent easily,' Shohibul said.
Responding to the matter, provincial Information and Communication Agency head Jumsadi Damanik said that his administration did not have enough money to help the evacuees.
'The provincial budget is very limited,' he said.
Provincial administration secretary Nurdin Lubis said that the handling of the evacuees would
cost Rp 1.1 trillion (US$95 million).
Governor Gatot Pujo Nugroho said he would present the proposed budget to Vice President Boediono in Jakarta.
The BNPB recently provided financial aid, worth Rp 28 billion through the North Sumatra provincial administration, to Mt. Sinabung evacuees. The money was meant to cover evacuees' returning
home, building materials and seedlings.
Separately Karo administration spokesperson Jhonson Tarigan said that the money for the evacuees was awaiting approval before it could be released from the regency's 2014 budget.
'Karo regent previously proposed Rp 5 billion from the regency's 2014 budget for Sinabung evacuees but the legislative council | has not approved it yet,' Tarigan said.
Karo councilor Siti Aminah Perangin-angin explained the council had filed a vote of no confidence motion against former Karo regent Kena Ukur Surbakti, over his under-performance.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono dismissed the regent recently. The letter of dismissal was delivered directly by Gatot to Kena in Medan.
Siti said the 2014 budget would be deliberated by the council on Tuesday.
'We will propose Rp 30 billion for handling the Sinabung evacuees issue, a much bigger portion than proposed by the Karo administration,' Siti said.
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