Indonesia ‘seems not to be learning’
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. – Reuters