Indonesia not to ask for international aid to cope with tsunami

Indonesia not to ask for international aid to cope with tsunami

Head of the Data Center and Public Relations at the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Sutopo Purwo Nugroho tells a press conference on the handling of earthquake and tsunami in Central Sulawesi on Monday . (ANTARA/Dewanto Samodro)

Jakarta,  (ANTARA News) - Indonesia would not ask for international aid to cope with the devastating impact of Friday`s earthquake and tsunami on Central Sulawesi, but it would not reject offer of assistance, an official said.

"Last night, the President told Foreign Minister, Indonesia would accept aid as much as it needs. The government would not ask for international aid but we are open to offer from international community," Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) told reporters on Monday.

The earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4 on the Richter scale that triggered tsunami had caused the loss of 844 lives, according to official figure of BNPB.

Coordinating Minister For Law, Security and Political Affairs Wiranto has said the government would accept aid selectively.

"Selective in accepting aid, and accept aid from selective countries. The countries must have the capacity to help Indonesia," Wiranto said.

Sutopo said that the international aid is limited to air transport service with aircraft that could land on a 2,000 meters runway, tents for refugees, water processing equipment, generator sets, field hospitals and paramedics and fogging.

"Though not limited to the six forms of assistance, aid in other forms must be ones urgently needed," he said.

Sutopo said learning from the experience in receiving international aid earlier, Indonesia has to be selective in accepting aid, which is urgently needed from countries having the capacity to provide the help.

"When worse tsunami hit Aceh (in December 26 in 2004) we had no system, experience and regulation that many countries came with assistance," he said.

Meanwhile, a lawmaker from the Islamic PKS party, Jazuli asked the government to call the Central Sulawesi Tsunami a national disaster.

"Without calling it a national disaster everybody already knows that there is disaster there," Jazuli, chairman of the PKS faction at the House of Representative said here on Monday.

He said the government has no reason enough not to call the Palu and Donggala tsunami a national disaster, if only for fear of its impact on the tourism industry.

Delay in handling the condition would even discourage tourists from visiting the country, he added.

Reporting by Dewanto Samodro
Editing by Albert Saragih, Bustanudin