In­done­sia ‘seems not to be learn­ing’

The Citizen (KZN) - - SNAPCHAT -

Palu – The young man stand­ing atop a mound of grey mud and de­bris on the In­done­sian is­land of Su­lawesi, wait­ing for an ex­ca­va­tor he hoped would dig out the bod­ies of his par­ents, voiced the ex­as­per­a­tion many feel in his earth­quake-plagued coun­try.

“This is some­thing that hap­pens all the time in In­done­sia. Why aren’t we get­ting bet­ter at han­dling it?” Bachtiar cried as the ma­chine clanked through the ru­ins in the city of Palu.

A 7.5-mag­ni­tude earth­quake on Septem­ber 28 trig­gered a tsunami and ex­ten­sive soil liq­ue­fac­tion, a phe­nom­e­non that turns soft soil into a seething mire, killing 2 073 peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est of­fi­cial es­ti­mate. Up to 5 000 more may be miss­ing.

“In every dis­as­ter, there is al­ways a les­son to be learned,” Su­topo Purwo Nu­groho, spokesper­son for the na­tional dis­as­ter mit­i­ga­tion agency, said this week.

He con­ceded that In­done­sia’s pre­pared­ness for dis­as­ters and ca­pac­ity to re­spond still fall woe­fully short. The bud­get is cur­rently 4 tril­lion ru­piah (R3.8 bil­lion) a year, equiv­a­lent to 0.002% of the state bud­get.

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