Indonesia ready to overcome challenging tsunami

Thu 27 Dec 2018 08:07 GMT | 12:07 Local Time

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Charity groups are helping thousands of people displaced in Indonesia's tsunami-hit areas as search for the missing continues, Anadolu Agency reports.

At least 430 people have been killed and 159 are still missing after a tsunami, triggered by a volcano, smashed into Indonesia's Sunda Strait coast on Saturday, according to the latest figure of the National Disaster Management Agency (BNDP).

Officials estimate that at least 1,455 people were injured while around 16,000 others were displaced in the tsunami which damaged more than 882 houses.

“All disaster affected areas have been accessed by the rescue teams -- both from governmental and non-governmental organizations -- in cooperation with National Search and Rescue Agencies,” according to Ahyudin Misan, head of Indonesia-based humanitarian foundation Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT).

Ahyudin told Anadolu Agency that his NGO, which is the largest humanitarian foundation in the country, immediately dispatched a rescue team in the area for searching and evacuating victims of Saturday’s disaster.

He also outlined ongoing rescue operations in the tsunami hit areas where the foundation is active with 300 volunteers and 25 professional rescue workers.

“Evacuation of victims both dead and injured, as well as actions to rescue displaced victims and those who lost property” was the main activity of ACT in the area, Ahyudin said, adding that medical and food aid is being dispatched on an urgent basis.

Emergency needs

“Prepared food, medicines and other medical needs, clean drinking water, food supply of public kitchens, cleaning packages, special packages for babies and pregnant women” are among the emergency needs, Ahyudin said.

“Tents, mats and blankets for refugees, genset and lighting are also needed."

Banten province on the southern coast of Sunda Strait and Lampung Province on the northern coast are the most affected areas.

“In the province of Banten, one village has been accessed today,” he said, adding that the village of Sumur is currently the center of search and rescue activities after torrential rains last night.

Hundreds of houses have completely been destroyed, and dozens of hotels and resorts were damaged severely in the coastal areas of the province. Power supply has still not been restored in some of the worst-affected areas.

“In Lampung Province,” he continued, “the latest news was that tourists including residents of Sebesi Island were evacuated in three ships. Two days ago, access was still difficult because high waves continued to exist in the Sunda Strait.

“Thousands of residents took shelter in mosques and local government offices.”

Post-disaster recovery activities

The charity head highlighted that the more crucial part is the post-disaster recovery phase that would build shelter houses and other infrastructure.

“Cleaning up debris, building temporary shelters, logistics supplies, rebuilding permanent homes and business places,” will be the major activities of the second phase of their activities.

The charity group also conducted assessment and data collection activities “to strengthen the program database both for emergency needs and post-disaster recovery.”

He said it is important to rebuild houses and communities, adding that fishermen have suffered the most.

Along with local NGOs, military and government agencies, several international NGOs, including Turkey-based Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), are also providing the refugees with emergency needs.

He stated that many charity groups from across the world also wanted to come to the disaster-affected areas “but the government as a regulator has not given permission unless they become partners of local NGOs.”

Several reports claimed that tsunami-related buoy warning systems of the disaster-prone country have not worked properly since 2012.

“The Indonesian government needs to have a better early WARNING system, in the form of equipment installed in areas that have the risk and level of vulnerability to tsunamis, such as in the Sunda Strait,” he said.

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