By Dandy Koswaraputra
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AA) – Indonesia on Thursday continued relief efforts for the 6th consecutive day, following the 7.4-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that hit its Sulawesi Island last Friday.
According to the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB), the death toll from the quake and tsunami has risen to 1,424, while 113 are still missing.
It said 1,407 dead bodies have been buried in a mass grave.
Some 2,549 people are critically injured and are receiving treatments at the hospitals in and outside Palu city, the BNPB added.
A total of 66,238 houses are estimated to be destroyed and the number of internally displaced people has climbed to 70,821.
On the 6th day of relief efforts, the Indonesian government and all sections of the community are trying to restore conditions in the disaster-hit areas.
In a Cabinet meeting, the Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced some priorities in handling the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.
The priorities include processing evacuation and search for victims, giving medical treatment and aid, accelerating the recovery of electricity networks, accelerating fuel supply, distribution of logistics and food staples, accelerating recovery of telecommunications networks and coordinating foreign assistance.
– Restoration of telecommunication networks
According to the latest developments related to the restoration of telecommunication networks, STO (automatic telephone center) has been restored by using a power generator. The main network of Palu-Donggala and Palu-Parigi-Manado has also been recovered.
In central Sulawesi, 50.7 percent of the Central Transceiver Station (BTS) out of a total of 3,133 stations are recovered.
In Palu city of central Sulawesi, 46 out of 203 have been recovered, while 126 BTSs are in recovery process. All of BTSs are being temporarily powered by batteries.
Meanwhile, free telephones and Wi-Fi services are available at 11 points, including Makorem Palu, Mutiara Airport, the mayor's office, the governor's office, Undata Hospital, Regional Disaster Management agency of Donggala and Radio Republic Indonesia (RRI).
The Communications Ministry and Telecommunications Operators have also prepared VSAT and satellite phones in a number of points, especially government offices and hospitals.
The fuel supply in Palu is already supported by 41 mobile fuel stations.
A total of 100 gas station attendants have been brought in from Makassar. Solar fuel for 22 days and Premium fuel for 7 days are available.
In regard to electricity supply, the 125 MW pre-earthquake capacity is estimated to experience a 30 percent reduction in load post-earthquake.
Besides a number of urban strategic points, business locations are beginning to start functioning.
*Munira Abdelmenan Awel contributed to the story from Ankara