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Cablegate: Mgeap1: Indonesia Earthquake Humanitarian Update #6:

VZCZCXRO8347
OO RUEHDT RUEHPB
DE RUEHJA #1715/01 2861033
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 131033Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3562
INFO RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 7982
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1086
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 8837
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 JAKARTA 001715

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP, CA
STATE FOR USAID
USAID FOR DCHA/OFDA CCHAN, ACONVERY, RTHAYER, AND RMT
USAID FOR ANE KROSEN
BANGKOK FOR ADWYER
NSC FOR CPRATT
USUN FOR DMERCADO
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
PACOM POLAD/J3/J5

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV CASC ECON EAID SENV ID PHUM AEMR ASEC CASC
MARR, PREL, PINR, AMGT, EAID, AQ, LA, RP, TN, VM, WS

SUBJECT: MGEAP1: INDONESIA EARTHQUAKE HUMANITARIAN UPDATE #6:
PRELIMINARY HUMANITARIAN NEEDS ASSESSMENT

REF: JAKARTA 01712

-------
Summary
-------

1. Since arriving in Padang, West Sumatra, the USAID Disaster
Assistance Response Team (USAID/DART) has conducted assessments of
areas affected by the September 30 earthquake to determine priority
humanitarian needs. Preliminary assessment results indicate a
widespread need for shelter interventions to assist individuals to
rebuild damaged or destroyed houses. The USAID/DART is following up
with reports of other needs, including agriculture, livelihoods,
food, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), in pocket areas.
In addition to assistance from the humanitarian community, social
capital, volunteerism, and charitable giving are helping affected
populations meet immediate humanitarian needs. A more definitive
humanitarian needs assessment will be issued via cable septel. End
summary.

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--------------------------------------------
Preliminary Assessment of Humanitarian Needs
--------------------------------------------

2. Since arriving in Padang, the USAID/DART has conducted
assessments of earthquake-affected areas in the districts of Agam,
Padang Pariaman, and Pariaman to determine priority humanitarian
needs. The areas to the north and west of Padang city are
reportedly the hardest hit -- with the three assessed districts
reportedly the most heavily affected in the region. Preliminary
assessments indicate widespread needs for shelter interventions
throughout earthquake-affected areas and possible needs for
agriculture, livelihoods, food, and WASH assistance in select areas.
Field assessments conducted by the USAID/DART from October 8
through 12 inform this preliminary humanitarian needs report.

--------------------------------------------- -----
USAID/DART Assessments Indicate Needs for Shelter,
Shelter, Agriculture/Livelihoods, WASH, and Food
--------------------------------------------- -----

-- Shelter and Agriculture/Livelihoods Needs in Sicincin --

3. On October 11, the USAID/DART field officer and information
officer conducted assessments in and around Sicincin town, which is
located approximately 20 miles east of Pariaman town in Padang
Pariaman District. Effects of the earthquake are striking in and
around Sicincin, where the quake reduced a large proportion of
houses to rubble and caused significant structural damage to many of
the remaining buildings. The USAID/DART interviewed individuals
whose homes were destroyed, Indonesian volunteers assisting to
repair infrastructure, a local government official, a business
owner, and a threshing worker. Preliminary assessment results
indicate that many individuals need shelter assistance, and some
individuals may need agriculture and/or livelihoods assistance, now
or in the coming months.

4. Houses in and around Sicincin town sustained significant
damage. Many of the houses that were not totally destroyed are
uninhabitable. Families have erected temporary shelter -- in the
form of simple tents constructed from one or more tarpaulins -- and
have moved furniture and other salvaged belongings to yards
surrounding houses. Individuals reported sleeping in these
temporary shelters. All individuals indicated that a new permanent
shelter was their top priority.

5. Individuals in and around Sicincin town reported continued
access to water sources before and after the earthquake.
Individuals whose water sources were destroyed stated that neighbors
are allowing them to fetch water from neighbors' water sources.
Affected populations in Sicincin appear to be able to continue to
follow cultural practices of boiling water to ensure that water is

JAKARTA 00001715 002 OF 004


potable, using wood collected from nearby areas as fuel to boil
water.

6. Earthquake-affected populations in Sicincin may require
agriculture and/or livelihoods assistance. Many individuals in this
area are farmers who own either irrigated or rain-fed rice paddies.
Anecdotal reports indicate that some irrigation systems sustained
significant damage, to the extent that some farmers' paddies have
dried up and rice crops have been lost in the days since the
earthquake. Individuals who spoke with the USAID/DART did not
report the need for tools or seeds. Further investigation is needed
to ascertain the extent to which populations in and around Sicincin
require agriculture and/or livelihoods assistance.

7. In the immediate term, individuals in Sicincin do not require
significant food assistance. Families reported having received food
from local charities and were not concerned that charities would
cease the provision of food in the near term. The USAID/DART notes
that food insecurity may increase in the coming months, depending on
the extent of the damage to irrigation systems and the consequent
effect that this damage inflicts on the next rice harvest.

-- WASH, Health, and Food Needs in Padang Pariaman --

8. On October 10, the Consular General from Medan and the
USAID/DART field officer traveled to Nagari Tandikat village in
Patamuan Sub-District of Padang Pariaman District. The earthquake
triggered a landslide which killed 350 people and destroyed 70
houses in the village. The quake also blocked the river that
provided the main source of irrigation and drinking water for the
village.

9. The team met with local villagers and the Indonesian Military
(TNI) to determine priority needs. Villagers stated their priority
need as water for drinking and irrigating. Drinking water is
available, but villagers must walk half a kilometer to fetch water
in community wells. All villagers reported that they continue to
boil water.

10. The TNI remarked that excavation equipment that could assist to
unblock the river will tentatively arrive in Pariaman in the coming
week, subject to approval by the local Government of Indonesia (GoI)
office, which sets priorities for heavy equipment use. (Comment:
The fact that GoI officials set priorities for heavy equipment use
is indicative of an insufficient amount of heavy equipment to clear
roads or unblock rivers. End comment.)

11. In Padang Pariaman District, the USAID/DART spoke with
villagers who reported having sustained injuries during the
earthquake that have to date remained untreated. Villagers remarked
that neither the local government nor international organizations
have offered medical assistance. Upon receiving this report, the
USAID/DART relayed the need for medical assistance to the
International Medical Corps (IMC). IMC plans to send mobile medical
clinics to the area within the coming days.

12. Villagers expressed concern about a possible loss of the rice
crop due to blockage in the river that is stopping irrigation.
While some rice paddies appeared to be dry, the USAID/DART cannot
yet ascertain whether the rice harvest can be salvaged for this
season. The possible failure of this season's rice harvest could
result in significant food insecurity. Potential interventions
include continued food distribution through the U.N. World Food
Program (WFP) or the GoI, or cash-based interventions increasing
access to food in area markets.

-- WASH and Food Needs in Agam and Padang Pariaman --

13. On October 8, members of the USAID/DART visited a spontaneous
displaced person camp near Lake Maninjau in Agam District, as
reported reftel. Individuals in the camp were ordered by police to
evacuate four villages that police deemed unsafe due to potential

JAKARTA 00001715 003 OF 004


landslides following the earthquake. The International Organization
for Migration (IOM) is providing humanitarian assistance for the
1,987 individuals sheltering in the camp. However, unmet needs
persist, including the need for safe drinking water, as some
individuals living in the camp are collecting water from the nearby
lake. Sanitation facilities at a neighboring mosque were
insufficient to sustain the population's sanitation needs. IOM told
USAID/DART representatives that individuals might only remain in the
camp for two additional weeks. The extent of sanitation needs will
depend on the length of time that IDPs remain in the camp.

14. The USAID/DART interviewed other individuals elsewhere in Agam
and Padang Pariaman districts. Except for individuals in the IDP
camp near Lake Maninjau, all families were residing at places of
origin under makeshift shelters on their own land where they had
cleared rubble from the damaged or destroyed houses. Families
reported their biggest needs as help rebuilding houses and food.
While the shelter cluster reported GoI plans to provide financial
assistance to families with destroyed or damaged homes, none of the
interviewed families were aware of such plans.

15. On October 8, the USAID/DART did not observe signs that the
earthquake interrupted the agricultural season but did note that
many households' food stocks were buried in collapsed houses,
causing people to rely on market purchases or charitable giving to
meet household demand for food. Food insecurity, due to a lack of
access and not a lack of availability, may result for affected
populations.

16. The USAID/DART also assessed conditions in local markets,
interviewing rice traders, lumber traders, and store merchants on
October 8. Markets appeared to be functioning well, and supply
chains were intact. The price of rice in markets visited in these
areas had increased more than 30 percent since the earthquake,
likely due to the loss of households' stocks of rice and resulting
increased purchases of rice from market sources. (Comment: If
prices continue to rise, food insecurity will likely increase as
food becomes increasingly difficult for families to access. End
comment.)

17. Water has also become more expensive in areas assessed on
October 8. The USAID/DART found that the cost of 19-liter bottles
of water in assessed markets had increased more than 40 percent.
However, the majority of families interviewed fetch water from wells
rather than purchasing water from the market. Typically, more
wealthy families purchase water from vendors. At present, the
USAID/DART is not concerned with this increase in the price of
water, given that most families continue to access water from local
water sources and boil it prior to consumption.

18. In markets assessed on October 8, the price of fuel for cooking
or boiling water had not increased since the earthquake. The price
of fuel used for cooking is critically important as many families
rely on market purchase of fuel to boil water. If the price of fuel
rises, a problem of access may result, resulting in families halting
the boiling practice, thereby giving rise to considerable public
health concerns. The price of lumber had likewise remained stable,
perhaps because affected populations have not yet begun to purchase
lumber for rebuilding or because populations will rebuild houses
with materials other than lumber.

--------------------------------------------- -----
Humanitarian Needs Reported through Cluster System
--------------------------------------------- -----

19. The USAID/DART is continuing to share information about needs
with other members of the humanitarian community. Participants in
the October 12 general coordination meeting remarked that the
earthquake may have particularly affected individuals whose
livelihoods are brick-making and farming. Reports indicate that the
quake destroyed all kilns. As families begin rebuilding and the
demand for bricks rises, delays in reconstruction will likely occur.

JAKARTA 00001715 004 OF 004


(Comment: The USAID/DART has observed individuals salvaging bricks
from rubble. Programs that further incentivize salvaging bricks
could mitigate a potential brick shortage. The U.N. Development
Program is planning to implement programs to assist individuals to
salvage rubble, including bricks. End comment.) Cluster members
also reported that damaged irrigation systems will cause an
unconfirmed amount of land to go without irrigation, which may
affect farmers in the current and upcoming agricultural seasons.

--------------------------------------------- ------
Volunteerism, Charitable Giving, and Social Capital
--------------------------------------------- ------

20. Many of the individuals with whom the USAID/DART spoke on
October 11 reported receiving food, water, and secondhand clothing
through unspecified charities. In Padang Pariaman and Agam
districts on October 11 and 12, members of the USAID/DART observed
groups of Indonesian volunteers, who reported having come to
earthquake-affected areas for up to one month. Volunteers were
engaged in repairing irrigation infrastructure and delivering food
in areas that are currently difficult to access.

21. In addition, in Padang Pariaman District, the USAID/DART
observed that affected populations' social capital is serving to
mitigate shocks and help meet immediate humanitarian needs after the
earthquake. Affected families rely on neighbors to meet needs for
water, charities to obtain food, and extended family to meet needs
ranging from emergency shelter to food.

--------------------------------
Needs Assessment Reported Septel
--------------------------------

22. The USAID/DART continues to conduct additional field
assessments in order to ascertain humanitarian needs in affected
areas. The team plans to update this preliminary needs assessments
septel in the coming week.


Osius#

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