Telkom Indonesia said it is making progress in restoring its services Palu and Donggala in Central Sulawesi, which were hit by a magnitude-7.4 earthquake, followed by a tsunami, last week. (Antara Photo/Akbar Tado)

UK Sends Humanitarian Experts; More Countries Offer Aid After Central Sulawesi Quake, Tsunami

BY :SHEANY

OCTOBER 02, 2018

Jakarta. The United Kingdom said it is sending a team of humanitarian experts to Indonesia to help coordinate the international response to last week's magnitude-7.4 earthquake and tsunami in Palu and Donggala in Central Sulawesi that killed 844 people and injured more than 600.

"...We are deploying a team of UK aid humanitarian advisers to the region who will use their disaster response expertise to help coordinate efforts on the ground," International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said on Monday (01/10), as quoted in a statement issued by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

In addition, the United Kingdom also announced that it has made £2 million ($2.6 million) in aid available to "help meet immediate needs of the most vulnerable people."

Samuel Carpenter, a member of the five-person team, said in a video published by the DFID that they would look at the immediate relief and protection needs of those affected by the disaster, noting that this includes trauma counseling and health care, safe and dignified burials, and provision of clean water.

"We're going to be looking at … how we can help coordinate the international relief effort in partnership with the government, the UN, the Red Cross, Red Crescent and other partners on the ground," Carpenter said.

The team is scheduled to arrive in Indonesia on Tuesday evening, according to the British Embassy in Jakarta.

Indonesia made an announcement on Monday that it was ready to accept international aid, which was followed by a meeting between government officials and ambassadors and representatives of various international organizations that have offered assistance.

Chief Security Minister Wiranto said Indonesia will carefully select which international aid to accept, especially focusing on countries that have made offers and have the capacity to provide timely assistance to Central Sulawesi.

The Netherlands also announced that it would provide €1 million ($1.15 million) in aid, which Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch minister for international cooperation and trade, said would be channeled through the Red Cross.

Indonesia's closest neighbor offered to send its Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Smart) to help with the ongoing search and rescue efforts and said it would donate 500,000 ringgit ($120,000) in aid for the victims, according to a statement received by the Jakarta Globe.

The European Union already committed €1.5 million in disaster relief, while South Korea pledged $1 million.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said at least 90 people are still missing, while 632 were injured and 48,025 left homeless in Palu alone. The agency has yet to determine the numbers for the nearby regions of Donggala, Parigi Moutong and Sigi.

The BNPB said rescue efforts face considerable challenges, including a shortage of earthmoving equipment and rescue personnel.

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