C. Sulawesi declares 14-day emergency period after earthquake, tsunami

Kharishar Kahfi and Ruslan Sangadji
The Jakarta Post

The Central Sulawesi administration has declared a 14-day state of emergency following an earthquake and tsunami that struck the province on Friday, says the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the state of emergency period was declared from Sept. 28 to Oct. 11.

“As the administration has declared the emergency state period, it will be easier for both the regional and national government to mobilize personnel, logistics, equipment as well as money to fulfill the needs of the affected area and people,” Sutopo said during a press briefing on Sunday in Jakarta.

He added that Central Sulawesi Governor Longki Djanggola had appointed Tadulako Military Resort commander Col. Agus Sasmita to lead the joint disaster mitigation team, which would be stationed at the military resort command headquarters in the provincial capital of Palu.

“There will also be coordination posts in each of the four affected cities and regencies, which will be set up and operated soon,” Sutopo said, referring to Palu city and three other regencies: Donggala, Sigi and Parigi Mouton.

The BNPB will assist the regional administration during the emergency period, especially in relation to disaster fund usage. The government has pledged Rp 560 million (US$37.6 million) in relief funds. The amount might be increased to meet future needs for aid and infrastructure reconstruction.

Apart from the local administrations and BNPB, the team will comprise personnel from the military, police as well as relevant ministries and state institutions.

Many parties have also urged the government to immediately declare the Central Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami a national disaster due to the scale of devastation. As of Sunday, the BNPB had recorded that at least 832 people had died during the disaster.

Sutopo, however, dismissed such suggestions, saying that regional administration offices in the affected area were still intact. “Despite of the damage, there are still safe areas.”

“For the mitigation, the central government will provide assistance,” he added.

Governor Longki, who resides in Palu, as well as Palu Mayor Hidayat and his deputy Sigit Purnomo Syamsuddin, are reportedly safe following the disaster. (swd)