Mutiara SIS Al-Jufri Airport in Palu, Central Sulawesi. (Photo: ANTARA)

Jakarta (VNA)
– Efforts are in full swing to mend the runway of Sis Al Jufri Airport in Palu, Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province, after the recent devastating earthquakes and tsunami in the Southeast Asian country, according to an Indonesian official.

The repair will be completed on October 11 with damage on the 2,500-m runway fixed so as to sustain aircraft making commercial flights, Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi said.

When aircraft of the CN 235, Airbus 320 and 737 types can operate, they will help accelerate the transport of aid relief to the victims of the natural disasters here and resume direct flights from Jakarta, the minister elaborated, adding full operation of the airport can be expected next week.

Two days after the earthquakes and tsunami hit the region on September 28, forcing the closure of the airport, light aircraft could use part of the facility with top priority given to aid relief and evacuation work.

Indonesia announced on October 5 the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami had swollen to 1,558.

Central Sulawesi was ravaged by two devastating quakes measuring 6.1 and 7.5 on the Richter scale. The second was followed by giant tsunami waves on the afternoon of the same day, destroying thousands of houses and roads.

The United Nations said that nearly 200,000 Indonesians, including tens of thousands of children, are in need of urgent aid.

Indonesia is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the "Ring of Fire", an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

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 December 2004, a massive 9.1-magnitude earthquake off the northern Indonesian island of Sumatra triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean countries, killing 220,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 168,000 in Indonesia. –VNA