Tuesday, May 03, 2005

News from Siberut UNESCO

siberut, originally uploaded by Birdiez.

Last Update on Siberut, April 26, 2005

Impacts of the earthquake:

The earthquake of April 10 (6.7 R, 17:29:11) in Siberut caused no human casualties and only limited material damage. In Muara Siberut, the buildings of the Junior High School (SMPN I) were damaged beyond repair. In Maileppet, most of the buildings in the National Park complex and buildings near and in the harbor complex were also seriously damaged. About 70% of the houses and offices in the National Park complex have been damaged beyond repair.

In the harbor, the pier has been uplifted (about 20 cm) but is still operational.

Since the earthquake of April 10, people in most of the coastal villages in Siberut have taken refuge and built makeshift camps in the hills close to their villages.

There are currently 16 IDP locations in the vicinity of Muara Siberut (the capital of the Sub-district of southern Siberut), where people have built makeshift camps with plastic covers. Most of the camps are located about one to two kilometers from the respective villages.
Due to the continuing rains, the conditions in the camps are very muddy.

There is an acute shortage of mosquito nets, especially amongst the IDPs of Muara Siberut, increasing the risk of malaria. In the IDP camp of Lampu Mercusar, Muara Siberut, there are 17 mosquito nets for 667 IDPs.

Due to the earthquake, the Office of Education at district level (Dinas Pendidikan Tingkat II) closed all schools in Mentawai for a period of one week (April 10-April 17).

A large number of government officials, including medical staff from the Puskesmas, teachers and staff from the Sub-district Office in Muara Siberut, have fled to Padang after the April 10 earthquake. The absence of government officials makes it particularly difficult to develop a rapid response as well as monitor the conditions in the IDP camps.

No money has yet been allocated by the Head of the Mentawai district for relief activities.

Current situation:

Until now, the majority of the people taking refuge in the hills are still reluctant to return to their homes. During the last two days people have started slowly to pick up their daily lives again during the daytime, but still return to makeshift camps in the evening to spend the night in the hills.

Most IDPs have built semi-permanent tents in the hills in anticipation for future earthquakes.

The IDPs have not yet received any streamlined information regarding earthquakes and disaster mitigation from government agencies. The District Government has established a coordinating mechanism, Satuan Koordinasi Pelaksana (Satkorlak). However, no information regarding earthquakes and disaster mitigation plans has been disseminated until now.

Schools have reopened but many teachers are still absent, as most of them fled to Padang after the April 10 earthquake. The Junior High School (SMPN I) in Muara Siberut is still closed.

People in the IDP camps have difficulties to access clean water. Water resources are often located _ to 1 hour walking from IDP camps. In several IDP camps the water resources (i.e. rivers) have been polluted due to uncontrolled use of the water.

Shops have reopened since a few days and the stock of rice is sufficient to meet the current needs. However, it is expected that people will face difficulties in purchasing food as most of the economic activities have come to a halt.


Due to its long history in working with the national park in the Siberut Biosphere Reserve, UNESCO Office Jakarta has been able to play a crucial role in establishing a rapid response and monitoring the situation in the field. UNESCO has currently more than 20 project staff working in Siberut.

UNESCO conducted a rapid survey in the IDP camps in cooperation with governmental and non-governmental agencies, including Siberut National Park, Yayasan Citra Mandiri, SurfAid, Kirekat, Puskesmas Muara Siberut and the Head of the village of Muara Siberut.

UNESCO, Siberut National Park and Yayasan Citra Mandiri have established three information centers to disseminate information and raise awareness regarding earthquakes and disaster mitigation. A rapid response team has been established and is currently visiting all the IDP camps to educate people in disaster mitigation as well as train IDPs on sanitation and waste management.

With the help from CEPF, UNESCO has set up tents in the most populated IDP camps as Lampu Mercusar, which are currently used by the Puskesmas (Community Health Centre) of Muara Siberut.

SurfAid International has provided 3000 mosquito nets to Mentawaians. The local SurfAid and UNESCO team as well as local NGOs will be responsible for the distribution of the mosquito nets in the 4 Mentawai sub-districts.

NGOs in Mentawai have agreed to freeze their programming for a period of four to six months and focus on education and mitigation.


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