South Halmahera's emergency response period extended: govt

South Halmahera's emergency response period extended: govt

A medical worker helped an infant getting sick at an emergency tent in Gane Timur area of South Halmahera District. The recent strong earthquake that rocked the district's areas had displaced tens of thousands of people. (ANTARA/Abdul Fatah).

The emergency response period has been extended until July 28 to enable us to handle the refugees
Ternate, N Maluku (ANTARA) - The South Halmahera District Government has extended the emergency response period until July 28 because many residents, displaced by the recent earthquake and currently staying in shelters, still need help, a local government official said. "The emergency response period has been extended until July 28 to enable us to handle the refugees," Head of the South Halmahera District Government's Emergency Response Team Helmi S Botutuhe said when ANTARA contacted him from here Monday.

The district government had previously declared July 14 to July 21 as the emergency response period to enable the government and related agencies to assist residents of 73 villages who had been severely impacted by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake.

"We have done our best, but due to some hurdles, we have to extend the emergency response period," he said without elaborating what handicaps had hampered the local authorities in conducting the humanitarian mission during the emergency response period.

Rice stocks for the refugees currently staying in shelters have begun declining and the district government has responded.

According to Deputy Head of South Halmahera District Iswan Hasyim, he had coordinated with the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) authorities in Ternate, North Maluku Province, so that they could provide 70 tons of rice.

The Bulog's rice must immediately be shipped to Babang Port at South Halmahera District so that it could be distributed to the needy, he urged.

The district government, assisted by the military and police personnel, has set up public kitchens in Labuha to feed 54,789 people at nine refugee sites.

Besides displacing the residents, the earthquake, whose epicenter was located 65 kilometers (km) northwest of Labuha, at a depth of 10 km below sea level, also killed at least six people as well as destroyed and damaged hundreds of houses and several houses of worship. (INE)