World Vision Sends Relief Aid for Bengkulu Quake Victims in Indonesia by Hendro Suwito
World Vision Indonesia sent 2,000 packages of non-food relief aid to Bengkulu province in Sumatra this Monday (17 Sep), to help lighten the suffering of earthquake victims in a sub-district there. The items in the aid package will include sarongs, blankets and sleeping mats.
“We are sending the relief goods later today (Monday 17 Sep),” WV Indonesia’s HEA/Relief Manager Jimmy Nadapdap said in Jakarta. “We expect the goods to arrive in Bengkulu tomorrow afternoon and we hope to be able to start our distribution on Wednesday.”
Jimmy said the distribution would be conducted in several villages in Batiknau sub-district in the northern-part of Bengkulu province. Fadli Usman, one of the World Vision staff conducting assessments in Bengkulu, said that a number of villages in the sub-district were among the hardest-hit by the disaster last week. “Some villages here have still not received any support yet because they are located so far away from the main road,” Fadli said on Sunday.
He said the initial relief undertaking would also need financial support from World Vision international offices. “We are approaching several of our Support Offices for the possibility of funding for the relief response in Bengkulu,” Jimmy said, adding that WV was still monitoring whether a similar response should also be conducted in West Sumatra.
As the government manages to collect more information from the impacted areas, there have been significant increases in the number of properties damaged by the 8.4-magnitude tremor last week, which were followed by scores of strong aftershocks. Northern-part of Bengkulu, southern-part of West Sumatra and the Mentawai Islands at the Indian Ocean were among the worst-hit areas. The National Development Planning Agency said on Sunday the number of houses and other properties damaged in Bengkulu and West Sumatra provinces reached over 15,000.
However, reports from the fields were much more severe. Bengkulu Governor Agusrin M. Najamuddin estimated on Sunday that the total number of houses destroyed or damaged had now reached almost 30,000 in Bengkulu alone. He also said some 3.5 trillions of rupiah (around US$400 million) would be needed to rebuild and repair houses, schools, health facilities and other properties destroyed and damaged in the disaster. Over 600 schools were seriously damaged. The three most impacted areas are Bengkulu Utara district, Muko Muko and the city of Bengkulu.
Meanwhile, reports show that thousands of houses in West Sumatra province have collapsed or been heavily damaged. The Pesisir Selatan district and Mentawai islands suffered the worst impact from the quakes. Thousands of people in Mentawai islands are now living under makeshift shelters as their houses were affected and they were unable to remain living in them.
The death toll so far is 14 in Bengkulu province and several people in West Sumatra. It is a miracle that the number of casualties was so small considering the magnitude of the quakes, which reached 8.4 and scores of over 6.0 magnitude.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was scheduled to visit Bengkulu on Monday to gather first hand information of the impact of the disaster on local people’s lives. So far, the government has been distributing tons of rice and other relief items to the impacted areas. However, as the affected areas are scattered across so many villages in two provinces, there have been complaints of slow distribution of aid in some places.*
For more information or interviews please contact:
WV Indonesia Director Trihadi Saptoadi (Mobile: +62-8159802874) Wv Indonesia HEA Manager Jimmy Nadapdap (Mobile: +62-818471074) WV Indonesia Communications Manager Hendro Suwito (Mobile: +62-811997762) WV Indonesia Relief Officer Fadli Usman (in Bengkulu)- (Mobile: +62-81330402540