The Jakarta Post
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed his admiration for the strength of residents of Palu, Sigi and Donggala in Central Sulawesi during his visit to the disaster-struck region on Friday.
Accompanied by Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Guterres and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva and a representative of the Asian Development Bank saw the devastation in the Perumnas Balaroa housing complex.
The senior officials were in Bali for the 2018 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund-World Bank Group.
"It is impossible not to feel heart-broken when we see such devastation [as] we have just witnessed. But it is the moment to express – and I want to do it on behalf of the UN and, I believe, the whole international community – full solidarity with the people of Sulawesi and the people of Indonesia and an enormous admiration for the resilience that was demonstrated by the population impacted by this earthquake," Guterres said.
"Their courage, their spirit of solidarity are remarkable," he went on. The UN is prepared to help Indonesia, he said, and its personnel would work under the coordination of the Indonesian government.
The World Bank’s Georgieva also conveyed her respect to the Central Sulawesi people, especially the survivors and the Indonesian government, which had stayed strong despite the disasters that had left more than 2,000 people dead.
She made a special mention of the soil liquefaction, a process in which soil becomes soft and watery because of an earthquake, calling it a unique phenomenon.
She said the World Bank would help Indonesia to rebuild the infrastructure in the area, as well as people’s homes.
The World Bank has estimated the disasters in Central Sulawesi caused $531 million in losses.
Georgieva said the bank would help residents rebuild their homes and a better future as a “memory” for the survivors.
Vice President Kalla said that during the extension of the emergency period, the government would focus on food, health supplies and clean water. Afterward, the government would shift to temporary housing, which is expected to be completed within two months.
“We will form a task force that will handle rehabilitation and reconstruction,” Kalla said. The task force will comprise several government institutions like the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) and the Public Works and Housing Ministry.
Former chief of the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency for Aceh and Nias (BRR Aceh-Nias), Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, has been appointed as a consultant for the Palu reconstruction, Kalla added.
BNPB head Willem Rampangilei said his office had been making an inventory of reconstruction needs, estimating the need to reconstruct 67,300 houses.
“The Education and Culture Ministry is counting the number of damaged schools, the Health Ministry the damaged hospitals,” Willem said.
“We have got some data from satellite imaging, but we have to validate this information. And then we will design the reconstruction,” he said.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct the paragraph on the World Bank’s estimate of losses caused by the disasters in Central Sulawesi.