The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo asked quake survivors to be patient as they wait for aid to be distributed upon arriving in the capital of Central Sulawesi, Palu, which was hit hard by an earthquake and tsunami.
Jokowi said it would take one week to prepare the airport so airplanes carrying the supplies could land safely.
“I'm aware there are a lot of issues that need to be resolved as soon as possible, and I hope the people will remain patient in this situation,” he told the reporters on Sunday.
Residents of Palu affected by the disaster have been facing difficulties in accessing electricity and fuel, as well as other supplies such as food and medicine since Friday night.
Antara news agency reported that survivors in Donggala, who had taken shelter on the Donggala Kodi hills, had pleaded for help on Sunday. "We are in need of food or instant noodles. We haven't received any help because perhaps the government is focusing on Palu, which has many fatalities," Arif Pandian, a resident, said as quoted by Antara news agency.
"My 1-year-old child is crying because there is no milk and no store is open," he said.
Antara reported on Sunday that people had been forced to dismantle fuel storage units as they experienced difficulties in accessing fuel. Meanwhile, a live TV report also showed that residents had been taking clothes and other goods from the heavily damaged Ramayana department store in Palu this morning.
Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo defended the survivors, saying that they had done so to cope with the disaster. He responded to reports about looting in the media, saying that no looting had taken place since store items were scattered all over the place following the quake. He was at Palu airport when the reported "looting" happened.
“It is untrue that people were looting the store since the items were scattered outside the store,” he said in a written statement on Sunday.
Since Palu residents are in dire need of food and medical supplies, Tjahjo said he had asked the Palu administration to prioritize the distribution of food supplies to displaced residents and patients at the hospital.
“I’ve already instructed them to purchase food and beverages at every available store around the region and distribute the items to those in need,” he said, adding that he had also asked the National Police and municipal police to assist in the distribution. (dpk/evi)