People gather around the destroyed West Sulawesi Governor Office in Mamuju, West Sulawesi on Jan. 15, 2021. (Antara Photo/Akbar Tado)

Death Toll in West Sulawesi Quake Rises to 81

BY :JAYANTY NADA SHOFA

JANUARY 18, 2021

Jakarta. National Disaster Mitigation Agency, or BNPB, reported the powerful 6.2-magnitude quake in West Sulawesi has killed 81 people and injured hundreds others.

"Seventy people died in Mamuju District and 11 others were in Majene District," BNPB's head of data, information, and communications Raditya Jati said in a statement on Monday.

BNPB reported, as of Monday at 8 a.m., 19,435 people have been evacuated following the quake that occured on Friday morning. A total of 253 people were severely injured, out of which 64 people were in Majene and 189 in Mamuju.

"At least 679 people suffered from minor injuries," Raditya said.

According to BNPB, the quake has damaged at least 1,150 housing units and 15 schools. The local disaster agency in earthquake-affected districts will coordinate with the military and police, the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), and volunteers to look out for people trapped in the rubble.

Evacuating in Midst of Pandemic

The string of natural disasters in Indonesia coincide with the Covid-19 pandemic and crowded shelters can possibly trigger virus transmission.

In response, BNPB Chief Doni Monardo has instructed shelters to separate the vulnerable and the younger evacuees. The vulnerable people refer to the elderly, those with comorbidities, pregnant and breastfeeding women, the disabled, and children.

Quake evacuees will undertake swab antigen tests. If reactive, they will immediately be handled by the local health agency, Doni said.

Aid Distribution

So far, BNPB has distributed 8 sets of isolation tent, 10 sets of evacuee tent, 2,004 instant food packages, 2,004 nutritious meal packages for the West Sulawesi quake victims. 

"As well as 1,002 side dish packages, 700 blankets, 5 tower lamps, 200 folding beds, and 500 baby supplies packages," Raditya said.

The agency has supplied shelters with 500,000 cloth masks, 700 packs of instant noodles, and 30 generator sets. Evacuation points in Malunda and Majene districts have also received 140 boxes of instant noodles and 10 boxes of mineral water from BNPB.

On Saturday, BNPB rolled out an initial assistance of Rp 4 billion (around $284,266) for basic operational needs in the quake-hit areas. West Sulawesi province received Rp 2 billion for assistance, whereas Mamuju and Majene districts got Rp 1 billion each. 

The 6.2 magnitude quake rocked Majene and Mamuju on Friday at 2.28 a.m local time.

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