President to visit quake victims in Aceh

Banda Aceh, Aceh (ANTARA News) - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to visit earthquake victims in Central Aceh and Bener Meriah districts in Aceh province on Tuesday.

During the visit, the President will be accompanied by First Lady Ani Yudhoyono and a number of ministers, Aceh Governor Zaini Abdullah said here on Sunday.

"According to the schedule we received, the plane which will carry the President will land at Malikul Saleh Airport in Lhokseumawe at around 08.45 western Indonesia time," Zaini said.

Before continuing his trip to the quake-stricken area, the President will be briefed on developments in the handling of the disaster in the airport`s VIP room, he said.

From the airport, the President and entourage will fly to Bener Meriah district by three helicopters, he said.

The helicopters will land at Rembele airstrip in the district, he said.

"From Rembele, the President will inspect a number of places in the affected area. But we don`t know in details which places he will visit," he said.

He said he had instructed the general affairs bureau of the Aceh provincial secretariat to coordinate with the President`s protocol officer with regard to the visit.

The governor further praised the central government for its quick response to the disaster.

"The Aceh government is thankful to the central government for its quick reaction by sending relief aid to the affected area, including the visit by a number of ministers a day after the quake struck the area. We are also thankful to the commander of the Iskandar Muda regional military command and the chief of the Aceh provincial police and their ranks and files who have helped victims," he said.

At least 40 people have been killed after a magnitude 6.2 quake rocked the two districts on July 2.

By Sunday 12 people were still missing and 150 others were being treated for serious injuries. The quake also damaged 2,432 houses seriously and 3,380 houses lightly.

Reporting by M Haris SA