The Jakarta Post
The government has prepared Rp 560 billion (US$37.6 million) in relief funds in response to the earthquake and tsunami that struck Central Sulawesi on Friday.
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said on Saturday that the funds would be disbursed on Sunday at the latest so the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPN) could quickly carry out its job.
She also said that the relief funds could be increased to meet future needs for aid and infrastructure reconstruction, as reported by Antara news agency.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is slated to visit the province on Sunday.
As of Saturday night, the authorities reported that at least 420 had died in the province as a result of the disasters.
The Health Ministry is also sending medical professionals and medicines to help survivors in the provincial capital city of Palu.
The ministry is sending 30 medical professionals from the Nusantara Sehat program that will focus on disaster crisis mitigation. It is also coordinating with the nearby regency of East Luwu that was not affected by the disaster to provide medicines.
State hospitals in Manado in North Sulawesi, Makassar in South Sulawesi, Semarang in Central Java, Yogyakarta, Bandung in West Java and Palembang in South Sumatra are also sending medical teams to help aid survivors in Palu and Donggala.
Antara reported that the regions were in dire need of general and orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, anesthesiologist and nurses.
Social Affairs Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita said the ministry had deployed six communal kitchens from Gorontalo, West Sulawesi and South Sulawesi to provide at least 2,000 meals, three times a day, for the survivors.
According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), Central Sulawesi’s population reached nearly 3 million people in 2016. From the total, Palu city was home to at least 374,000 residents and Donggala regency at least 296,400 people.
Meanwhile, Surabaya Military commander Major Gen. Arif Rahman said that he was ready to send his troops to help relief efforts, such as for search and rescue and aid distribution efforts.
A military disaster relief camp in Makassar announced on Sunday that aid from people, NGOs and the regional administration were starting to reach the camp.
Groups and individuals were reportedly coming until late on Saturday night to give aid such as food and drinks, menstrual pads, diapers, clothes and tents to the camp.
Similarly, people have been flocking to a youth disaster relief camp in Makassar to give aid to be sent out to Palu and Donggala.
“At least with the aid that we send out, we can help to reduce the hardships the survivors are suffering,” Fitri, a volunteer, said as quoted by Antara.
However, the aid and relief seems yet to have reached the Donggala Kodi hills, where people are in need of food and other basic needs.
“We need food or instant noodles because until today, we have yet to receive any aid. Maybe the government is still focusing the relief effort on Palu, which has had the most fatalities,” one of the survivors in the region, Arif Pandian, told Antara on Sunday.
Previously, National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told reporters on Saturday that relief effort teams for Donggala had been deployed since Friday but that he had yet to receive any reports on the aid because the communication networks were down because there was no electricity. (ris)