The Jakarta Post
Mutiara Sis Al Jufri Airport in Palu, Central Sulawesi, remains closed off to foreign airlines seeking to provide aid for the thousands of earthquake victims, an official has said.
“Several foreign airlines have requested permission to deploy their aircraft, but we did not allow them because it is still a sensitive area,” said Transport Ministry airport director Polana Pramesthi on Monday as reported by kontan.co.id, mentioning a French airline as a recent example.
Polana assured that Indonesian airlines were capable of carrying out all necessary aid work. There have been at least four commercial local airlines operating flights in Palu since the earthquake struck on Friday: Garuda Indonesia, Wings Air, Nam Air and My Indo as well as several military-operated Hercules aircraft.
“There have been six return flights by Hercules aircraft so far,” he said.
However, current airline activity is below average because authorities are prioritizing aid-related flights and will remain selective of foreign aid.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said government priority would be given to Australia, the United States, Morocco, South Korea, the European Union, China, Singapore, Turkey, the Philippines and Switzerland.
So far, South Korea has donated US$1 million, the EU Rp 25 billion ($1.6 million) and China $200,000 (via the Red Cross). Sutopo added that only President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had the authority to authorize foreign aid. (nor)