Japan to help reconstruct quake-hit Sulawesi

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Wooden boats are stranded at Pantoloan port in Poso, Central Sulawesi Province, Indonesia, on Oct. 10, 2018. The earthquakes and the tsunami have killed at least 2,010 people, left over 5,000 others missing and triggered massive damage and a huge evacuation. Xinhua

JAKARTA (NHK/Xinhua) –Japan is to help Indonesia draw up a basic plan for the reconstruction of Sulawesi Island, which was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami last month.

According to NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), the decision was reached during a meeting between Shinichi Kitaoka, the president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, or JICA, and the Indonesian Minister of National Development Planning, Bambang Brodjonegoro.

The Sept. 28 disaster left more than 2,000 people dead and wreaked havoc in coastal areas, including the city of Palu.

The quake also caused many buildings to collapse in inland areas. The phenomenon known as liquefaction has turned the ground into mud in many places.

JICA will send a fact-finding team to Sulawesi.

Mr Bambang said Indonesia and Japan are both prone to earthquakes and tsunami, and his country wants to learn from Japan’s experience of rebuilding disaster-hit areas.

He expressed hope that JICA will help to make communities more resistant to natural disasters.

Mr Kitaoka said JICA will assess the damage and give advice on improving disaster resilience.

Meanwhile, the World Bank (WB) has announced funding of up to $1 billion to assist Indonesian government for its reconstruction efforts in disaster-affected areas of Lombok and Sulawesi, bolstering the nation’s long-term resilience.

The standby fund, available on request by the Indonesian government, will give a $5 million grant for technical assistance for detailed planning to ensure reconstruction is resilient and community-led.

The WB package could include cash transfers to the poorest 150,000 affected families for a period between six months to one year.

The package would also strengthen monitoring and early warning systems, and help finance the reconstruction of housing settlements and neighborhood level infrastructure and services.

According to its preliminary damage assessment on the impacts of earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi, WB has estimated that the multiple disasters has generated physical loss up to 8.07 trillion rupiah (about $531 million).

The loss estimation came from substantial damages in residential, non-residential and infrastructure sectors. Multiple earthquakes and an ensuing tsunami tore through Palu city on Sulawesi island, killing more than 2,000 people

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