Saturday, October 3, 2009


Jakarta, Oct. 3, 2009 (ANTARA) - Indonesia once again witnesses the world solidarity continuously flowing to West Sumatra following a deadly magnitude-7.6 earthquake which rocked the province last Sept. 30.

At least 600 people were killed and thousands were still trapped under rubble in the West Sumatra earthquake which destroyed thousands of buildings.

The world had previously demonstrated generous solidarity when Indonesia`s Aceh Province and Nias Island were devastated by a gigantic tsunami on December 2004, Yogyakarta and some parts of Central Java were leveled by VI-VII MMI-earthquake in May 2006.

In the aftermath of the West Sumatra disaster, helping hands have already been extended by a number of countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Saudi Arabia, the UK, the US, Germany, South Korea, China, Japan, Russia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Denmark, Switzerland, Thailand, Taiwan and Norway.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has sent a maximus Aircargo plane carrying two units of trucks, one ambulance disaster response unit, a Search and Rescue (SAR) team, medicines, and four sniffer dogs that will be used to identify the presence of victims, both survivors and victims who died under collapsed buildings in West Sumatra.

Saudi Arabia has always been a friend of Indonesia and was now ready to help Indonesia in mitigating the disaster in West Sumatra, Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Indonesia Abdulrahman Moh. Amin Al-Khayad said in Jakarta.

From neighboring Australia, a plane carrying Australian rescue personnel and relief supplies touched down in West Sumatra`s capital of Padang, AAP, Australian news agency, reported.

Supplies included medical kits, blankets and tents for the tens of thousands of Indonesians affected by Wednesday`s devastating earthquake. A 36-person urban search and rescue team and about 20 Australian Defence Force medics and engineers are expected to arrive in Padang on Saturday.

Australia has also provided $A250,000 to Indonesian NGO Muhammadiyah to support its medical teams and humanitarian operations and $A100,000 to the Indonesian Red Cross for its emergency response.

Another neighboring country, Singapore, said it would provide $50,000 worth of emergency relief supplies, including temporary shelters, blankets and medicines. It is also sending a 42-member Civil Defence Force rescue contingent.

Malaysian doctors are also helping quake survivors in West Sumatra.

US President Barack Obama in Washington DC on Thursday expressed his sympathy over the Sumatra earthquake and his administration also sent immediate aid to help the victims.

"I know firsthand that the Indonesian people are strong and resilient and have the spirit to overcome this enormous challenge. And as they do, they need to know that America will be their friend and partner," Obama, who had spent his childhood for several years in Indonesia, said.

The United States announced Thursday it has released 300,000 dollars in immediate aid to the victims of Indonesia`s massive earthquake and has set aside another three million dollars for later.

From Moscow, it was reported that the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry was sending rescue workers, doctors and psychologists to the earthquake-affected province.

"Under the instructions of the Russian president the Emergency Situations Ministry will help the residents of Sumatra, hit by a devastating earthquake. Two ministry`s airplanes Il-76 are due to fly to the island on Thursday, October 1," a source in the information department of the Russian ministry told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev earlier sent a telegram of condolence to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

China has allocated $ 500,000 in aid to Indonesia, Chinese media cited on Friday the Foreign Ministry as saying. China`s Red Cross has also provided $50,000, Xinhua news agency said.

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso expressed his deep sympathy towards the victims through President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The European Commission allocated 3 million euros to aid the victims.

An emergency response team from the European Commission`s Humanitarian Aid has been deployed to Padang to evaluate the victims` necessities.

According to a press release from the UK Embassy in Jakarta, a team of UK search and rescue experts was sent to Indonesia by the Department for International Development (DFID).

The UK plane also carried specialist rescue equipment, some UK firefighters trained in emergency search and rescue techniques who will work with the Indonesian government to help in life saving and recovery efforts.

Earlier, Prime Minister Gordon Brown sent a message of condolences to President Yudhoyono following the disaster.

Canada`s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lawrence Cannon, also offered his country`s condolences to the people of Indonesia.

Some 60 rescue personnel and 23 doctors from Japan arrived in Pariaman, which is the earthquake worst-hit district in West Sumatra, on Friday to help victims of the deadly.

Hamada, a spokesman of the doctor team from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), said his team would focus on seriously injured victims.

"We choose to come to Pariaman because it is the worst-hit area and many victims suffer from broken bones," Hamada said.

Pariaman Deputy Mayor Mukhlir Rahman, when greeting the Japanese doctors, said many local residents suffered from broken bones and trauma due to the 7.6 earthquake.

The powerful temblor has devastated 10,581 houses, 88 public facilities, 77 places of worship, 76 school buildings, and 68 government offices in Pariaman alone.

The United Nations has also rushed teams to Indonesia to survey the damage in the wake of a massive earthquake and to prevent the outbreak of epidemic diseases.

A UN team - comprising members from the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children`s Fund (UNICEF),and others - has arrived in the city of Padang, with a population of nearly 1 million, in Sumatra.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon offered his condolences to victims of the Indonesian quake and their families in his own statement, adding that he is closely following reports of the impact of the disaster.

A UN senior official has also called for global unity in responding to a series of deadly natural disasters that have struck Asia in recent days.

The international solitary towards the Sumatra earthquake`s victims, by accident, came just few days after President Yudhoyono has stressed the importance for the world to foster global conscience, which he said imperative for maintaining harmony among civilizations.

In his lectures at Harvard University In Boston, Sept. 29, 2009, Yudhoyono described the need the for nurturing global conscience, by citing an example on what had happened after the Aceh tsunami 2004.

"It is not easy to describe this, but this is what I saw in Aceh during the tsunami tragedy. On 26 December 2004, giant tsunami waves crashed Aceh and Nias, and 200,000 people perished in half an hour. The whole nation was in grief., he said.

But in this tragedy, he said, one also found humanity. "The whole world wept, and offered helping hands. Americans, Australians, Singaporeans, Chinese, Mexicans, Indians, Turks and other international volunteers worked hand in hand to help the Acehnese. I realized then there exists a powerful global conscience", he said.

And the recent West Sumatra earthquake, as well as other disasters which happened almost at the same time in the Asia Pacific region, namely tsunami on Solomon Island and a deadly Typhon in the Philippines, have again caused a global conscience to build up.


(T.F001/A/F001/A/F001) 03-10-2009 14:25:44

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