As of Friday 16 October, 7.6 magnitude earthquakes that shook the West Sumatera region in September had led to a record 1,117 deaths. The largest number of victims was found in Padang Pariaman (675 people) followed by the city of Padang (313 people), Agam District (80 people) and the City Pariaman (32 people).
According to Disaster Management Agency (Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB)), the earthquake caused 279,472 houses through West Sumatera to be damaged. The tragedy also led to 2164 education facilities being severely hit, with 1447 other units damaged and 1137 units only slightly affected. Health facilities with severe damage were recorded at 51, 50 additional facilities suffered middle-range destruction and 52 more must now deal with repairs.
As many as 442 office buildings were damaged. 1003 places of worship were severely damaged, with 1199 units partially destroyed and 649 places now in need of repair. While the damaged infrastructure includes 292 must undergo maintenance. 68 bridges now require some sort of restoration. 147 irrigation facilities were badly devastated, 144 require mid-range repairs and 27 facilities also require attention.
The government continues to provide emergency response measures to the community in Sumatera. During the period of the emergency response, basic aid such as rice money and side dishes has been prepared. Each person receives Rp.5.000 per day for up to 400 grams of rice and side dishes. Supplies of rice reached 13 thousand tons and therefore, enough to meet the demand for four months. Other basic needs including a clean water supply, electrical energy, and telecommunications, have returned to normal.
The earthquake that occurred in West Sumatera was due to shifting tectonic plates in the ocean near Indonesia. These plates are unstable, causing earthquakes to remain common in Indonesia. Earthquakes occurred more recently in North Sulawesi and Sukabumi, West Java measuring an average of 5.0 magnitude on the Richter scale. An earthquake occurred in the area of Ujung Kulon on Friday, October 16 and on Monday, October 19, another earthquake again shook West Sumatera with a magnitude of 5.3. Aftershocks have occurred around 600 times since then.
Support from other parties also continued to come both from the government, private companies and from individuals. Pekerti conducted an earthquake emergency response including fundraising for housing assistance, in order to help affected craftsmen in West Java. Pekerti is planning to build 100 temporary shelters for earthquake survivors in Ciamis, West Java. As for natural disaster victims in West Sumatra, Pekerti will distribute the funds from Pekerti’ partners through several related agencies. In the aftermath of the earthquake in West Java, Pekerti contributed aid to craftsmen living in the disaster-affected area. Pekerti is unfortunately not able to contribute direct aid to the Sumatra earthquake victims due to the distance of the earthquake from the office and a lack of channels within the disaster area. Instead, Pekerti will call on its partners to distribute Pekerti’s aid and help Pekerti to realise the organisation’s mission of a more fair and just world.
Indonesian society still must remain aware to the possibility of more aftershocks from the Sumatran earthquake. However, the earthquake will allow the Indonesian people to learn how to construct earthquake-resistant buildings and how to deal with earthquake disasters which will continue to occur in Indonesia, being a country where tectonic plates are.