Indonesia lifts state of emergency for quake-hit island

Central government ends emergency response period for central Sulawesi province, stricken by earthquake, tsunami

Indonesia lifts state of emergency for quake-hit island

Indonesian government on Friday lifted the state of emergency for the central Sulawesi province, imposed in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in the island.

On Sept. 29, the government declared state of emergency for the island after a 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck Sulawesi Island, which triggered a tsunami in the cities of Donggala and Palu that towered up to 10 feet (3 meters) high.

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto, who goes by only one name, said that after the emergency response period ended, the affected areas would enter the transition phase into the rehabilitation and reconstruction.

"All of these phases will be the responsibility of the regional government," Wiranto said in his office on Thursday.

Previously, the government announced that the state of emergency would end on Oct. 11, but extended it for two weeks, citing the ongoing emergency response activities, he added.

Meanwhile, Wiranto ensured that the central government will continue to provide assistance.

"The central government will continue to support [the regional government], whether through National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), the central assistance team that I formed, or through a task force," he explained. 

Wiranto said he would go to Palu today to hold a joint meeting with the regional government.

The minister will coordinate with the regional government over some ongoing aid activities, including temporary shelter constructions, the return of refugees, the life insurance for affected people and education for children.

Wiranto said the construction of water wells is also among the works still continue.

"So far, we have opened 22 wells, others are still being drilled," he said.

On the issue of education for children affected by the disaster, the government decided to build a school tent that could accommodate the students.

Nevertheless, Wiranto admitted that the learning and teaching activities had not been fully recovered because children were still traumatized by the disaster.

The government, through the Ministry of Education, will issue a ministerial regulation that organizes a special treatment to prepare the affected students for the upcoming exams.

"For those who are affected by the disaster, schools must accept every student unconditionally," Wiranto said.

He also ensured that the government would continue to provide health care for the victims.

The government is verifying the victims and validating their data so that they could receive medical aid and treatment. 

As of Sunday, 2,256 people were killed and 223,751 displaced by the disaster, National Disaster Management Agency reported.