Refugees of South Halmahera earthquake face shortage of tents

Refugees of South Halmahera earthquake face shortage of tents

Children at a shelter in Balitata Village, Gane Barat Sub-district, South Halmahera, District of North Maluku. (ANTARA PHOTO/Desi Purnamawati/pras/sh)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Refugees of the earthquake that hit Gane Luar Village, South Halmahera District, North Maluku, on Sunday, are in dire need of more tents as a temporary shelter before they can rebuild their devastated houses.

"Humanitarian aid had been distributed through the sea route, and the refugees have already received it. The problem is that we are facing a shortage in the number of tents that were already distributed," Director General of Protection and Social Insurance of the Social Affairs Ministry Harry Hikmat remarked here on Monday.

The ministry has distributed 130 tents and more from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) are on the way to the worst-affected area.

Earlier, on Friday, the government's 1,000 packages of humanitarian aid had arrived in the villages of Gane Luar and Bisui, the two areas worst hit by the earthquake in South Halmahera District that is difficult to reach via means of land transportation.

"A longboat departed last night at 9 p.m. local time from the Mafa Port to villages along the coastal area of South Halmahera as the worst-hit areas," Social Affairs Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita remarked.

The minister paid a visit to the location and witnessed the condition of refugees compelled to stay in emergency shelters made from wood and sago palm leaves.

The ministry has distributed assistance, totaling Rp1.39 billion, comprising Rp4.9 million as part of the first phase of logistical aid, Rp145 million under the second phase of logistical aid, Rp356 million in the third phase of logistical aid, 1,200 packages of basic necessities worth Rp300 million, sanitary tools amounting to Rp500 million, and Rp15 million each for the families of the deceased.

A 7.2-magnitude earthquake jolted South Halmahera on Sunday at 4:10 p.m. local time, with its epicenter located at a depth of 10 kilometers due to the active movement of the Sorong-Bacan fault.

The strong earthquake damaged 971 houses, and 3,104 residents are yet living in shelters. EDITED BY INE