The 7 December 2016 earthquake that struck Aceh was the closest repeat of the infamous 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake that struck the very same province of Indonesia. Thankfully, fewer lives were lost due to vastly improved warning procedures. There are some practical solutions to cope with the ephemerality of quake-prone housing zones.
In a deadly encore to the December 2004 earthquake that struck the Southeast Asian portions of the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a magnitude 6.5 temblor struck the very same province of Aceh on Indonesia’s Sumatra Island on 7 December 2016. The death toll was reported in the media to be a grand total of 103, with some 932 people being injured and 88,133 persons displaced from their homes. This was a far cry from the human losses in 2004. But the more urgent signal for observers and officials studying humanitarian relief governance is the fact that within a space of 12 years, the physical buildings that had replaced those felled in 2004 had been decimated by nature once again.
A spokesperson for BASARNAS, the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency, reminded the world that 148 million Indonesians, or more than half its population, live in quake-prone areas. Subsequent situation reports generated by BASARNAS and the ASEAN Humanitarian Coordination Centre up till the 12th day of the aftermath point to the fact that the most immediate palliative task lay in building temporary homes and other shelters.
… Tamara Nair is Research Fellow at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS Centre), and Alan Chong is Associate Professor at the Centre for Multilateralism Studies (CMS), both in the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Last updated on 11/01/2017