Jakarta – The UN Migration Agency (IOM) has allocated USD 200,000 from its emergency funds to kickstart an emergency response operation following the powerful earthquake and ensuing tsunami that hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday.
“IOM has been meeting with government counterparts, including the Ministry of Social Affairs, and UN partner agencies to discuss the immediate priorities and needs identified by the government. We want to target areas where our intervention can have the greatest positive impact and offer the most support to the government’s ongoing efforts. We will be putting forward proposals which may include deployment of our displacement tracking matrix (DTM) - a tool that maps how many people have been displaced, where they are and their immediate needs, to inform the humanitarian response,” said IOM Indonesia Chief of Mission Mark Getchell.
Other areas in which IOM may be able to help could include the establishment of a “humanitarian bridge” by which non-food relief items from IOM stockpiles in the region can be delivered to government staging points in the affected areas. Evacuees can then be transported out of the affected areas on the returning empty vehicles/vessels. The deployment of shelter and camp coordination and camp management (CCCM) experts could be another possible area of assistance, Getchell added.
IOM Jakarta is today convening a meeting of the IOM-supported Indonesian National Cluster on Protection and Displaced Persons to further discuss the best ways forward in response to the disaster. According to the Indonesian authorities, immediate needs in addition to evacuation, include health, fresh water, food, hygiene and shelter.
An IOM disaster response expert will tomorrow join other UN Humanitarian Country Team members on an assessment mission to the affected area led by the Jakarta-based ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre.)
The 7.4 magnitude earthquake and the wall of water that crashed into Palu, a city of 350,000, has claimed at least 1,234 lives and injured hundreds more. Many outlying areas close to the quake’s epicentre in Donggala remain cut off due to landslides and infrastructure damage, and there are fears the casualty toll will rise sharply in the coming days. More than 200 aftershocks have hit the area since Friday.
Earthquakes are common in Indonesia, one of the most seismically active countries on earth. On 5 August, a 6.9 magnitude quake and a series of strong aftershocks struck the island of Lombok, 1,700km from Palu, killing at least 430 people and injuring 1,300 more. Tens of thousands remain displaced and more than 67,000 houses are reported to have been damaged.
A 9.2 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sumatra on Boxing Day 2004 triggered a tsunami that killed an estimated 220,000 people, including more than 160,000 Indonesians. IOM was a key government partner in the emergency response and reconstruction, creating the logistics train that supplied the response and building thousands of homes, clinics, schools and government buildings.
Since that time Indonesia has invested considerably in its emergency response systems. IOM has worked closely with the national disaster planning agency on trainings and simulations over the years, particularly in Aceh province, the area hardest hit in 2004.
IOM has worked in Indonesia since 1979 and now has 16 established offices and 11 project sites across the country. These include two long-established offices in Sulawesi. For more about IOM’s work in Indonesia, please go to: http://indonesia.iom.int/
For more information please contact Mark Getchell at IOM Indonesia, Tel: +62 8111092582, Email: email@example.com