Saturday, 25 May 2019

Political sensitivities, made the Indonesian governments are wary too open to outside help for Palu disasters


The victimsThe victims -  When the earthquakes struck the island of Lombok, the goverment of Indonesia has been reluctant to relying on outside help to cope with disasters, and the government shunned foreign aid this year. But now, it has accepted help from abroad to cope with the Sulawesi disaster.

Perhaps as many as 5,000 victims of the 7.5-magnitude earthquake and tsunami on September 28 have yet to be found, because most of them entombed in flows of mudflows that surged from the ground when the quake agitated the soil into a liquid mire or called as tsunami land.

More than 10,000 rescue workers are scouring expanses of debris, especially in three areas obliterated by soil liquefaction in the south of the small city. 

And the disaster agency, in a notice posted on Twitter, set the rules out for foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs), saying they were not allowed to go directly to the field and could only work with local partners.

Indonesian governments are wary of being too open to outside help because they could face criticism from political opponents, and there is particular resistance to the presence of foreign military personnel, as it could be seen as an infringement of sovereignty.

"There are political sensitivities, especially with an election coming up, and sovereignty is another issue," said Keith Loveard, a senior analyst with advisory and risk firm Concord Consulting, referring to polls due next year.

A few foreign aid workers have been in the disaster zone, including a team from the group Pompiers Humanitaires Francais that searched for survivors, but they have spoken of difficulties in getting entry permits and authorisation. Foreign citizens who are working with foreign NGOs are not allowed to conduct any activity on the sites.

"This is the first time we encountered such difficulty in actually getting to do our work," team leader Arnaud Allibert said, adding they were leaving on Wednesday as their help was no longer needed.

While Indonesian workers searched, the disaster agency ordered independent foreign aid workers to leave the earthquake zone.

As information, Sulawesi is one of Indonesia's five main islands. The archipelago of Indonesia sees frequent earthquakes and occasional tsunami.

In 2004, a quake off Sumatra island triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean that killed 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Aceh, Indonesia.

Until now, the official says the death toll from the disasters stood at 2,010. Most of the bodies have been found in the seaside city of Palu, on the west coast of Sulawesi island, 1,500km northeast of the capital, Jakarta.







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