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Jakarta Post

Indonesia to list foreign assistance required for Palu earthquake relief

  • Dian Septiari

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, October 1, 2018   /   06:25 pm
Indonesia to list foreign assistance required for Palu earthquake relief National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) personnel transport the bodies of earthquake victims at Hotel Roa Roa, Palu, Central Sulawesi, on Sunday (30/09) morning. (Basarnas/File)

The government is in the process of compiling a list of the aid Central Sulawesi will need from other countries, following a major earthquake and ensuing tsunami that struck the province on Friday, a Foreign Ministry official has said.

 “We are currently listing all the possible assistance we need, including airplanes for transporting relief and aid packages, both from Jakarta and nearby cities, as well as refugee tents, water treatment solutions and heavy equipment for digging out and retrieving victims from collapsed buildings,” ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir told reporters in Jakarta on Monday.

He said that opening up Central Sulawesi to foreign assistance was a pragmatic decision due to the scale of the disaster.

At least 1,200 people have been killed and hundreds more feared buried in landslides from the 7.4-magnitude earthquake that hit Central Sulawesi on Friday, which was followed by several aftershocks, a tsunami and mudslides, according to data from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

On Monday night, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo moved to authorize the opening up of Central Sulawesi to international aid and disaster relief, said Thomas Lembong, the head of Indonesia's investment coordinating board.

A team fielded by the government, which reports to Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto, is currently compiling the list, Arrmanatha said.

All foreign assistance would henceforth be coordinated by Wiranto’s office.

“Any form of [foreign] assistance that we receive will depend on what is needed on the ground – and the people from the office of the coordinating ministry, the BNPB and other teams on the ground,” he said.

The official did not provide any timeline for the completion of the inventory, but Deputy Foreign Minister AM Fachir is meeting with foreign envoys in Jakarta on Monday, including from China, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and India.

So far, a number of countries and international organizations have pledged humanitarian aid and assistance, including funds from South Korea and the European Union.

Arrmanatha conceded that the government has had to juggle resources between disaster relief for Palu and the ongoing recovery efforts in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, which was struck by multiple earthquakes in July and August, killing nearly 500 people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.

“Right now we have [had to deal with] two major disasters that occurred so close to one another. Our focus is divided because the process of rehabilitation and relief operations in Lombok have yet to be completed,” he said.