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Jakarta Post

Hercules aircraft deployed to provide disaster relief in Palu

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie
    Marguerite Afra Sapiie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, September 29, 2018   /   10:17 am
Hercules aircraft deployed to provide disaster relief in Palu A shopping center in Palu, Central Sulawesi, was destroyed after a string of earthquakes hit on Friday. (Antara/-)

Field hospitals and disaster agency and military personnel were deployed to areas affected by recent earthquakes in Palu via a Hercules aircraft and maritime vessels on Saturday morning.

Seven electrical substations were damaged by the earthquake, causing blackouts. As of Friday evening, state-owned electricity company PLN has repaired two of the substations and officials are working to immediately repair the other five.

Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said his office had sent a radiogram ordering local authorities in cities and regencies near Palu, including Mamuju and Makassar, to instruct the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) to send tents and other equipment to the affected areas.

Tjahjo said he would also order local leaders to immediately send their rice stocks. "I will fly to [Palu] in the morning to ensure that the local government is ready" he said.

Read also: Tsunami warning in C. Sulawesi revoked after wave subsided

Social Affairs Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita said his office had prepared 3,000 packages of staple foods and six mobile field kitchens, which would be able to cook a total of 36,000 meals per day.

More than 100 volunteers from the emergency response unit Forum Tagana from nearby areas, including Gorontalo, West Sulawesi and Makassar, would be deployed to assist the victims, while Forum Tagana members from Central Sulawesi who were not affected by the earthquake had begun to help in the evacuation and rescue process, he said.

"We will immediately deploy psycho-social assistance personnel for trauma healing to help the victims cope psychologically," Agus said.

The ministry handed over folding beds, tents, mattresses and 1,000 packages of instant noodles to Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel, who were scheduled to fly from Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base in East Jakarta in the morning, he said.

The ministry also cooperated with the Gorontalo local government to send the ministry's buffer stock from the province to Central Sulawesi, Agus said, adding that the buffer stock from Makassar would also be sent by land early on Saturday, taking 10 to 12 hours to reach the affected areas.

"We hope that everything goes smoothly and the supplies sent by the Social Affairs Ministry could be received by the victims [on Saturday]," he said.

Central Sulawesi experienced two major earthquakes on Friday with several aftershocks. First, a 5.9-magnitude quake hit, killing at least one person and injuring 10 others in Donggala regency. It was followed by a 7.7-magnitude earthquake at 6:02 p.m. Authorities later updated that it was a 7.4-magnitude earthquake. 

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) head of the tsunami early warning division, Weniza, said it recorded 55 aftershocks since the main shock as of Friday, ranging in magnitude from 2.9 to 6.3.

"We hope residents remain vigilant and stay away from damaged buildings, while we continue to keep providing updates on the situation," Weniza said.