Rescue is underway for victims of the powerful earthquakes and tsunami in Central Sulawesi.
(Photo: AFP/VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) – The Indonesian Government will not declare the powerful earthquakes and subsequent tsunami in Central Sulawesi as a national disaster; however, it will accept international aid, said Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.

The Government will not be raising funds for victims of the natural disasters during the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund-World Bank (IFM-WB) Group, which are scheduled in Bali from October 8-14.

According to Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Indonesia does not have to do that as the national funds are sufficient to handle the impact of the quakes and tsunami.

He said that the IMF-WB annual meetings will be held as scheduled as all sides involved have made thorough preparations.

Indonesian authorities said that natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanoes are normal in Indonesia, whose location is on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”. It is necessary for the country to have sound response measures and improve the forecast and analysis capacity of the Agency for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics (BMKG).

Indonesia has decided to repair and upgrade the agency’s equipment.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), some 190,000 Indonesian citizens in Central Sulawesi are in need of humanitarian aid after the province was hit by strong earthquakes and tsunami. Among them, there are 46,000 children and 14,000 elderly victims.

The local government is making concerted efforts to recover from the disasters. As of October 1, the disasters have racked up a total of nearly 1,300 deaths.

Suwelasi was ravaged by two quakes measuring 6.1 and 7.5 on the Richter scale on September 28. A subsequent tsunami rose after the second quake, hitting the area sometime later in the afternoon.

A series of earthquakes in July and August killed nearly 500 people on the holiday island of Lombok, hundreds of kilometres southwest of Sulawesi.

In 2004, a substantial earthquake off the northern Indonesian island of Sumatra triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean, killing 220,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 168,000 in Indonesia. –VNA