Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) reported that the aftershocks occurring after the 5.4-magnitude earthquake in Jayapura, Papua, still had a psychological effect on residents.

BNPB's Acting Head of the Disaster Data, Information, and Communication Center Abdul Muhari stated that the earthquake vibration that occurred on February 9 was more distributed on the mainland followed by a high frequency of aftershocks.

The series of earthquakes recorded by the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) since January 2 showed that the same magnitude centered at sea got more intense until February 9 and was centered on land, thereby causing the refugee count to reach up to three thousand in the three districts of Abepura, Sentani, and Jayapura.

"On February 9, some 118 aftershocks occurred, of which 46 were felt by residents. It actually affected the psychology of the community. At night, they do not feel safe at their home," Muhari said at a disaster briefing in Jakarta, Monday (February 13).

Muhari also revealed that the BNPB had provided Rp750 million (around US$49.4 thousand) ready-to-use funds, food logistics worth Rp250 million (around US$16.5 thousand), three thousand mattresses and blankets, and three units of tents.

Since Monday afternoon, the evacuation center at the Hamadi Village office began wearing an empty look, thereby indicating that the refugees had returned home. However, at night, the evacuation tent was still filled with 50-60 people, with most of them being mothers and children.

The evacuation center is in a fishing village and the heads of families usually head to the sea to catch fish at night, so their families might not feel safe being at home if an earthquake occurred in the night time.

Moreover, the mothers believed that the children would feel better in the evacuation facility, as they could have several friends to interact with.

Fifteen houses were heavily damaged, one was moderately damaged, while 28 houses were slightly damaged, according to BNPB.

Muhari also reminded the public to develop the concept of a family-based earthquake early warning system by piling up used cans filled with stones. If the cans fall due to vibrations, it will serve as a warning to promptly evacuate from buildings.

"We appeal to the public, especially those, who may still feel anxious, to go home. At this time, the intensity of the aftershocks has reduced. They can return to their home if no damage was found," he said.

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Translator: Devi Nindy Sari R, Resinta S
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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