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Cablegate: Indonesia Earthquake Humanitarian Update #8

VZCZCXRO0623
OO RUEHDT RUEHPB
DE RUEHJA #1734/01 2881002
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151002Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3589
INFO RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 7990
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1093
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 8846
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 03 JAKARTA 001734

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: INDONESIA EARTHQUAKE HUMANITARIAN UPDATE #8

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

1. The Government of Indonesia (GoI) has reported that the
official death toll from the September 30 is 1,115 people. During
the October 13 to 15 visit of the U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator,
the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (USAID/DART) raised the
issue of coordination with the U.N. Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The USAID/DART continues assessing
affected areas, including through a recent assessment of Pariaman
District which indicated significant albeit localized shelter
damage. The USAID/DART is also monitoring safety and security
reports of incidents in affected areas. End summary.

---------------------
Earthquake Death Toll
---------------------

2. The reported number of people killed by the earthquake has
increased as rescue and body recovery efforts continued. Body
recovery efforts have now ceased. On October 15, a representative
of the GoI National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) informed the
USAID/DART that the final death toll from the September 30
earthquake is 1,115 people.

------------------------------------------
Visit of U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator
------------------------------------------

-- USAID/DART Raises Humanitarian Coordination Issues --

3. From October 13 through 15, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for
Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes
visited earthquake-affected areas of West Sumatra Province, where he
spoke with affected villagers and met with non-governmental
organization (NGO) representatives and cluster leads. Holmes also
held meetings with the international community, donors, and GoI
officials in Padang and Jakarta.

4. The USAID/DART has observed strong coordination within the
clusters and solid coordination among GoI officials but has not been
aware of significant coordination between clusters and GoI
officials. Of particular importance is the engagement of the U.N.
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) with the
GoI BNPB to connect the GoI with members of the international
humanitarian community. At an October 15 meeting with donors, a
USAID/DART representative requested that OCHA share its perspective
on coordination between the humanitarian community and the GoI.
Both Holmes and the Indonesian U.N. Resident Coordinator (RC) noted
having observed good coordination between the GoI and the
international humanitarian community, with GoI representation at
most clusters. The RC stated that local government engagement has
been slow but that local government officials will likely be more
proactive.

5. (Comment: Despite the U.N.'s assurances, the USAID/DART remains
concerned about the level of coordination between the humanitarian
community and the GoI. Following the meeting with Holmes, a
representative of AusAID commented to the USAID/DART that AusAID had
likewise observed a lack of strong coordination between the
humanitarian community and GoI counterparts. End comment.)

-- OCHA Funding for Earthquake Response --

6. In the October 15 meeting, Holmes stated that OCHA will
contribute between $6 million and $7 million to the disaster
response, through the U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
CERF funding will help meet immediate humanitarian needs.

---------------------
GoI "Emergency Phase"
---------------------

JAKARTA 00001734 002 OF 003

7. Within the humanitarian community, the GoI's description of the
"emergency phase" of the humanitarian response to the earthquake has
generated some confusion. On October 15, the USAID/DART met with
the BNPB Deputy II for Emergency Management. The BNPB official
clarified that the GoI emergency phase is the time during which the
following events occur: 1) first responders evacuate casualties, 2)
organizations meet basic needs for disaster victims and displaced
persons, and 3) organizations conduct immediate, temporary repair of
vital infrastructure. When the GoI declares the emergency phase
over, all GoI personnel mobilized to respond to the disaster --
including police, members of the military, first responders, and
others temporarily working in West Sumatra Province -- leave the
disaster-affected areas, and the provincial government begins to
manage the emergency response without additional GoI assistance.

8. After meeting with the BNPB deputy, the USAID/DART met with the
recently-arrived OCHA coordinator in Padang. The USAID/DART
requested that this official clarify meaning and implications of the
emergency phase to members of the humanitarian community in order to
allay confusion and assure donors that international assistance
continues to be necessary to augment the GoI's response to the
earthquake.

-------------------------------
Assessment of Pariaman District
-------------------------------

9. On October 13, the USAID/DART assessed conditions in Sungai
Geringging and Sugai Limau sub-districts of Pariaman District.
Roads were passable, although some roads had major cracks that
penetrated through the sub-grade. The USAID/DART observed vehicles
belonging to international NGOs, as well as GoI response personnel
in affected areas.

-- Shelter --

10. The USAID/DART observed significant albeit localized damaged to
houses; some villages sustained significant damage, while houses in
other villages remained relatively untouched, with no apparent
reason for such differences. The walls of most houses that were
damaged had been constructed with river stones or bricks, without
reinforcing elements and with thin load-bearing walls. Affected
populations were in the act Q6kQQ0=QQ&g materials --
especially wooden timbers and metal sheet roofing -- to the extent
possible.

-- Food Security --

11. Villagers who spoke with the USAID/DART reported that few crops
were lost but noted problems being able to harvest. (Comment: The
USAID/DART tentatively attributes these problems to populations'
current focus on securing emergency shelter and rebuilding permanent
shelter. End comment.) The USAID/DART observed numerous staple
foods and cash crops, including rice, cacao, coconut, and palm
kernel, drying along the side of the road. However, the team also
recorded a 33 percent increase in the price of rice compared to
prices prior to the earthquake in markets in two villages.

-- Health and Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene --

12. Villagers indicated to the USAID/DART that their health needs
were met and that they had not experienced any problems obtaining
water.

-------------------
Safety and Security
-------------------

13. Since arriving in Padang, the USAID/DART has received reports
of communities stopping vehicles carrying relief commodities and
demanding that drivers give some of the cargo to the community
before passing. The villagers' motivations for making these demands

JAKARTA 00001734 003 OF 003


are unknown. The USAID/DART safety and security officer received
such reports during the week of October 4 to 11 but has not received
similar reports in recent days. The Indonesian national police were
notified of these incidents. The USAID/DART advised an affected NGO
to develop stronger ties with the Padang police humanitarian
liaisons. The USAID/DART safety and security officer will continue
to monitor developments.


Osius#

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