Quake Leaves Billions in Damages for Weary Residents

Banda Aceh, TAG. A day after a powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake shook Sumatra Island, Aceh is starting to count the costs.

Though no one was killed in Wednesday’s quake, the strongest since the temblor that triggered the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed as many as 170,000 people in the region, districts are reporting billions of rupiah in damages. 

Hundreds of houses, mosques and other buildings in four villages in Aceh Singkil district, located about 500 kilometers southeast of the provincial capital, reportedly sank by at least a meter. 

Sukri Murni, secretary of the district’s disaster mitigation unit, said the villages of Ujong Bawang, Suka Damai, Kilangan and Ujung had been affected by the land subsidence, although no one was required to evacuate their homes. 

He said the land subsidence had also damaged roads across the district. Two mosques and three schools suffered serious damage and could no longer be used.

Sukri estimated damages in the area would amount to about Rp 6.3 billion ($695,000). 

“We hope the provincial and central governments can help us financially to fix public facilities, especially the roads, schools and houses affected by the quake,” he said. 

Zul Mufti, head of Simeulue district’s social affairs agency, said the island had suffered about Rp 52 billion in damages. 

“That is our temporary estimate of the damages caused to houses, buildings and other facilities,” he said. 

Simeulue Island was one of the areas closest to the epicenter of Wednesday’s earthquake and reported a significant number of injuries, with at least 22 people being taken to local hospitals. 

More than 20 community health clinics and 15 schools were completely destroyed, Zul said. Among the most seriously damaged buildings on the island were two government offices rebuilt by the Aceh-Nias Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR) after the 2004 tsunami. 

Zul said residents affected by the quake had already received food and medical supplies. Aceh’s government also provided Rp 100 million in aid. 

Asep Karsidi, from the Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare, told the Jakarta Globe that the ministry would allocate Rp 500 million in relief funds to help the victims of the disaster. 

He added that an emergency rapid response team from the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) would be in the worst-affected areas for the next week to assess the damage and coordinate with the ministry in aid distribution. 

Wednesday’s quake struck off the northwest coast of Sumatra at 5:15 a.m. at a depth of 46 kilometers, according to a report from the US Geological Survey. 

The epicenter was reported to be 60 km southeast of Sinabang, Simeulue. At least 15 aftershocks were felt on Wednesday. 

According to Badrul Kamal, a geophysicist from Andalas University in Padang, the quake was the result of movement in the 700-km-long “Mentawai patch,” which in 2007 caused quakes measuring 8.4 and 7.8 in magnitude. 

Late last year, geologists warned that a massive undersea quake beneath the Mentawai Islands in West Sumatra was long overdue.[]
Quake Leaves Billions in Damages for Weary Residents Quake Leaves Billions in Damages for Weary Residents Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on April 09, 2010 Rating: 5

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