Indonesia: Earthquake West Papua Province OCHA Field Situation Report 04 Jan 2009


On 04 January a series of earthquakes struck off the coast of West Papua, with the closest city Manokwari 95 km from the epicentre. According to BMKG (Indonesian National Meteorological Agency) , the main earthquake struck at 5:43 am local time, 7.6 on the Richter Scale (RS) at a depth of 10km; followed by over a dozen aftershocks followed (see map attached). A tsunami alert was issued but later revoked; a small tsunami has been reported to have taken place in Japan with no reports of injuries or damages at this time.

The President of Indonesia confirmed the deaths of 4 people, however later reports have confirmed that 8 people have been killed.

The Hotel Mutiara and Hotel Kalidingin have collapsed resulting in the injuries of five people while two people were rescued from the rubble. Reports have confirmed the injuries to several occupants of the Swissbel Hotel who have been referred to hospital. According to UN local staff members, 40% of the houses sustained moderate damage, while the major damage has been to buildings in the area.

The Government run hospital in Manokwari is treating four people who were injured in the earthquake. A series of buildings have been badly damage and include: several government offices, including the office of the Governor; two banks and one DOLOG warehouse for food storage. Electricity remains cut off and the airport has sustained minor damages. Several flights to Manokwari were cancelled due to damage at the airport, and flights are currently unable to land due to lack of electricity. Telecommunication systems are still down and concerns have been raised that additional casualties may emerge when the system is restored.

Unofficial reports confirmed that coastal communities, upwards of 1000 people, were moved to emergency shelters during the tsunami alert and were urged to stay outside of their houses by the local authorities until the aftershocks subsided. There has been no update as to whether the local communities have returned to their homes. According to Metro TV, hundreds of people fled the aftershocks in Manokwari to nearby Makodim.

According to UNDSS, all UN staff members and their families have confirmed their safety.

National Response:

The Head of BNPB, the Deputy of Emergency Response and the Minister of Health, Minister of Public Works and Minister of Social and Transportation are currently travelling to the affected area by military plane; but are unable to land at the airport due to lighting. Another military plane will depart for the affected area tomorrow. They are bringing 20 MT of relief assistance.

The Crisis Center of the Ministry of Health has sent a team of 10 staff, they are planned to set up a field hospital.

Different Government Ministries are ready to provided emergency funds if needed.


Indonesian Red Cross, MSF, HOPE and World Vision are also planning to visit the area affected.

The HC/RC office has been in contact with UN agencies, National/Provincial Authorities and NGOs which are working in the area and an UN mission team are on standby at the airport to travel to the area and conduct a rapid assessment. At this time, the Government of Indonesia has not requested international assistance.

OCHA is coordinating with the different actors and we will continue to monitor the situation.

This report is prepared by the UN HC/RC Office in Indonesia based on information provided by the National Coordinating Board for the Management of Disasters (BNPB), the Provincial Coordinating Unit for the Management of Disasters (SATKORLAK PB), Ministry of Health, Ministry of Public Works, the District Coordinating Unit for the Management of Disasters (SATLAK PB) and media reports.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit