"This Tuesday morning, three battalions of troops will have departed for Palu. They will secure important places, including airport, seaport, patrol stations, shops, and automatic teller machines," Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto informed journalists here on Tuesday.
Since the 7.4-magnitude earthquake and tsunami hit Palu on Sept 28, some 850 medical workers have been sent earlier to the devastating city, he revealed, adding that the additional troops were deployed to help restore trade and business activities there.
"Thus, we safeguard all important sectors, including access points for humanitarian aid logistics. All aid packages should be able to reach the disaster survivors in need," he stated.
The TNI troops will safeguard the logistics trucks arriving from Parigi and Mamuju and will ensure that the distribution of those humanitarian aid packages could reach the earthquake and tsunami survivors securely, Tjahjanto noted.
On Tuesday afternoon, he and Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto would return to Palu to ensure that the city`s residents feel secure and the distribution of aid packages reach the needy, including those in isolated areas.
"With the safeguards of our TNI and National Police, the community members will feel secure," he said.
Due to shortage of food stocks, many irate residents stormed several minimarkets and looted the goods. However, tens of others stole luxurious goods, including smart TV and smartphones, from abandoned shops.
National Police Spokesman Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo had earlier remarked that the police and military personnel had been dispatched to safeguard several gas stations and minimarkets around Palu to prevent them from being looted.
"The police and military personnel will secure the gas stations and mini-markets to prevent several local people, in need of food, from looting them," he added.
Palu, the capital city of Central Sulawesi Province, suffered the worst impact of the strong earthquake and tsunami that hit certain parts of the province on Sept 28. Apart from Palu, the disaster also affected those in the districts of Gorontalo and Sigi.
The earthquake was followed by tsunami, which had badly smashed the coasts of Palu and Donggala District. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency recorded that, as of Sunday at 1 p.m. Western Indonesia Time, the catastrophe had killed 821 people in Palu and 11 others in Donggala District.
In response to the disaster, President Joko Widodo had expressed his condolences to those affected. Several friendly countries have also expressed sympathy and offered humanitarian assistance to Indonesia.
As of Monday, 18 countries offering humanitarian assistance to the Indonesian Government include Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, India, South Korea, the United States of America, Australia, France, Switzerland, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Norway.
Reporting by Syaiful Hakim
Editing by Rahmad Nasution