Indonesia tsunami – Indonesian President claims much quicker relief efforts

Official presidential portrait of Susilo Bamba...

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Comment from Earthquake-Report.com : Earthquake-Report.com was from the very beginning very critical in the slow reaction of Indonesian Rescue and Relief efforts. As we followed the news almost from minute to minute after the main earthquake, it was very clear to us that the devastation and the height of the waves was much greater than initially calculated by theoretical models.
It took another 2 days before ships with Rescue and Relief personnel were on their way to the Mentawai Islands.
The Indonesian President did come to the same conclusion and ordered an immediate reorganization of emergency services in order to respond quicker to calamities.

The JakartaGlobe published an article with the opinion of the President, Government describing also the reorganization and better use of the means of the National Disaster Management Agency. We encourage our readers to read the full article.

In the wake of criticism over relief efforts following last week’s natural disasters, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Monday that the National Disaster Management Agency would be provided with the necessary equipment to do its job.
He said the head of the agency, known as BNPB, held ministerial rank and therefore could sidestep the bureaucracy.
This meant the BNPB did not have to waste time coordinating with other ministries.
Yudhoyono said he wanted extra funding for the agency in the 2011 budget to ensure its effective operation.
“The BNPB should have a high level of readiness, not only concerning its personnel but also its communication equipment and air transport,” he said.
The BNPB has 10 helicopters, two Hercules planes, five warships, two ships, six speedboats and 15 longboats at its disposal.

He praised the military for quickly mobilizing its Hercules planes to deliver supplies in Mentawai, where access was difficult.
“This model should be followed in the future,” he said. “If we cannot get supplies through by sea it should be through air.
However, he said the first priority should be rescuing the injured. “I underline the need for speedy evacuations,” the president said . “The use of helicopters should be prioritized to transport the injured.
The president said people in disaster-prone areas should be trained in what to do when a tragedy struck.
There should be new policies that will really be able to reduce the number of victims when natural disasters hit,” he said.
In the case of Mentawai, the president said it was dangerous to allow people to return to villages too close to the sea. “We need a new regulation or a law if necessary to reorganize this for their own safety,” Yudhoyono said.

Overview page with all the articles we wrote on this dramatic earthquake / tsunami

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Huge Tsunami preparedness exercise in New Zealand today

tsunami sign

Image by bookish in north park via Flickr

On the exception of Canterbury, because of the recent traumatic earthquake,  New Zealand’s will test it’s ability to respond to a massive tsunami on Wednesday.

More than 100 agencies nationwide will take part in the exercise.
New Zealand will test the new updated national tsunami advisory and warning plan.

The revised plan makes use of new scientific modeling from GNS Science that allows for distinct threat warnings to be issued for 43 coastal zones.

“It is a good example of how science can help response to an emergency,” he added.

Exercise Tangaroa, named for the god of the sea, rivers, lakes and all life within them, will begin with a simulated Pacific Tsunami Warning Center alert that a major tsunami may have been created by an earthquake off the coast of South America.

National warnings, clearly labeled as simulation messages, will be issued by the Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management to the National Crisis Management Center and agencies throughout the country.

Participants include all 16 regional civil defense emergency management groups, most local authorities, central government departments, emergency services, scientific agencies, welfare organizations, utilities, the transport sector and some media.

Read more here

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