How you can help Palu earthquake victims

The 7.4-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that devastated Palu, Donggala and Mamuju in Central Sulawesi on Friday evening has claimed 832 lives, at the time of writing, and injured many others. The earthquake destroyed infrastructure and homes, leaving survivors without shelter. According to a statement issued by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) via its social media accounts, basic necessities that are still urgently needed to help the victims are fuel (diesel fuel and gasoline), drinking water, medical personnel, medicines and field hospitals, tents, tarps, blankets, stretchers, water tanks, food, lamps, generator sets, emergency         kitchens, body bags, shrouds and baby food. Humanitarian organizations have extended a helping hand, accepting donations in the form of funds, goods and volunteer work. Here is the list of organizations through which you can offer assistance to the Palu and Donggala earthquake victims:


Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT Indonesia)

Formed in 2005, the foundation has been actively involved in humanitarian activities, supported by public donors and companies via corporate social responsibility partnerships. The foundation makes its annual financial reports public and accountable for its donors and stakeholders. Transfers can be made via these bank accounts:

BNI Syariah 0270 360 372

Mandiri 101 000 4802 482

ACT also has an online donation link via :

Website: www.act.id

Twitter and Instagram: @ACTforHumanity

Facebook: AksiCepatTanggap



The crowdfunding website was established in 2013 and is actively campaigning for various causes including medical treatment costs and disaster relief. Its online donation pages are transparent, donors are notified when a campaign reaches its target. Kitabisa.com is also audited by the Public Accountant office and has funded 14,329 campaigns with 966,036 donors listed. Several campaigns have been launched to help the Palu earthquake victims on Kitabisa.com, enabling you to choose whichever one you wish to channel your donations through.

Website: www.kitabisa.com

Facebook: KitabisaDotCom

Twitter and Instagram: @KitaBisaCom

YouTube: KitaBisaIndonesia



Known as one of the biggest e-commerce platforms in Indonesia, Tokopedia also houses several credible donation channels such as its own Donasi Palu, Rumah Yatim, Baznas, Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa (YCAB), Dompet Dhuafa, PKPU Human Initiative, Rumah Zakat, ACT, Lembaka Zakat Al Azhar, NU Care – LazisNU and Tangan Pengharapan. Donations can be made by following this link, where you can choose which channel you wish to extend your help through: www.tokopedia.com/donasi-online/

[The Jakarta Post October 1, 2018].


Indonesia hasn’t had a tsunami detection buoy system in place since 2012: National Disaster Agency

Residents of Indonesian city Palu in Central Sulawesi had little time to escape let alone react to a tsunami that hit hard on Friday evening, following a 7.5 earthquake. The events were in quick succession: the quake’s epicenter was just about 50 miles north up the coast from Palu. A tsunami warning was issued by Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) Agency, but quickly lifted about twenty minutes following the 7.5 earthquake, supposedly after the tsunami had already hit Palu. The devastation wrought by the three-meter tsunami, which along with the earthquake has managed to kill over 800 and counting, has prompted questions over Indonesia’s ability to quickly and accurately predict tsunamis and generate warnings.

The country hasn’t had a functional tsunami detection buoy system, also known as deep-ocean assessment and reporting of tsunamis (DART), since 2012. This was revealed by National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho at a press conference in Jakarta on Sunday. Sutopo pointed to Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) Agency for answers. “Since 2012, there hasn’t been one operating, even though it’s needed for early warning. It can be asked to BMKG why from 2012 to now, it’s not there,” Sutopo said. At the same press conference, Sutopo expressed frustration at budget constraints his agency is facing. “Disaster funding continues to decline every year. The threat of disaster increases, the incidence of disaster increases, but BNPB’s budget actually decreases. This affects mitigation efforts. The installation of early warning tools is limited by a continuously reduced budget,” CNN Indonesia quoted Sutopo as saying.

In December 2017, Sutopo previously drew attention to the fact that Indonesia had a total of 22 buoy sensors scattered across its waters that were totally damaged, either stolen or vandalized. Responding to Sutopo’s comments, head of BMKG Earthquake and Tsunami Center, Rahmat Triyono backed up the BNPB’s statement that the buoy system was out of service, but shifted the blame from BMKG. “Yes, it doesn’t exist anymore and doesn’t support BMKG with data,” Rahmat told CNN Indonesia. According to Rahmat, Indonesia installed buoys across multiple points throughout Indonesia following the devastating tsunami that hit Aceh in 2004, but those buoys were either lost or damaged. “Because it’s in the open ocean, no one was watching them. In fact, they were all lost. Some lost from being taken by fishermen, or dragged away by ships,” Rahmat said. “There was even one located in Muara Angke (fishing port in Java), because it was found by fishermen. Because there was GPS, it was detected. It was dismantled,” he added.

The institution responsible for procuring the buoys is the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), not BMKG claims Rahmat. BPPT deputy of Natural Resources Development and Technology, Hammam Riza similarly singled out lack of resources as the main factor for lack of upkeep and attention paid to the buoys. “So far, we have been very busy with post-earthquake handling efforts while anticipation has been very minimal, not even a priority,” Hammam told BBC Indonesia.

BMKG is still able to carry out early detection functions without the buoys, since they use a system based on tsunami modeling, using seismographs, GPS, and tide gauges, but having them in place would increase their modeling’s accuracy, according to Dahmat. “So, we get scenarios using tsunami modeling. At present, we have are around 18,000 tsunami models. “But if we have incoming data from the buoys, the scenarios will be more accurate, because there would be observation data.” As with any natural disaster, however, tsunami forecasting is an imperfect science and scientists can only begin to increase their accuracy as real life instances occur,  providing more data. While an MIT Technology Review examination of the reliability of DART in 2011 has found that the system is flawed and has its limitations, the system could help Indonesia, Louise Comfort, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh graduate school told the New York Times. The current system is too limited as is, says Dr. Comfort, who has been trying to help bring new tsunami sensors to Indonesia and has been discussing the project with the Indonesian government, planning to bring a system prototype to eastern Sumatra this month. Unfortunately, the project reached a stalemate amongst three Indonesian agencies. “They couldn’t find a way to work together,” NYT quoted Comfort as saying. “It’s heartbreaking when you know the technology is there,” she said. “Indonesia is on the Ring of Fire – tsunamis will happen again.” [Coconuts Bali October 1, 2018].


Indonesia tsunami: Air traffic controller sacrifices life so plane can flee earthquake

Anthonius Gunawan Agung, 21, sacrificed his life as his colleagues fled the Mutiara SIS Al-Jufrie airport, near Palu, Central Sulawesi, when the region was rocked by a 7.5magnitude earthquake that triggered a series of aftershocks and a devastating tsunami. Desperate to clear Batik Air flight 6231 for take-off, he remained in the air traffic control tower as the ground violently shook and the earth opened up before jumping four storeys as the aircraft roared into the skies. Trapped in the tower, he was forced to jump, breaking his leg and causing internal injuries in the process. He died in hospital while waiting for a helicopter to transfer him to a different location for treatment.

Air Navigation Indonesia spokesman Yohannes Sirait said Mr Anthonius saved everyone on board the plane as the city was later ravaged by a tsunami that plunged the region under 10 feet of water. Mr Anthonius had his rank increased by two levels posthumously in recognition of his “extraordinary dedication”. [Express September 29, 2018]


Bali cracks down on ‘bikini selfies’ at Hindu temples

Instagram-snapping tourists with scant respect for Bali’s Hindu temples have prompted a policy change on the Indonesian resort island originally popularized by hippies and surfers. A social media flurry of photos showing Westerners frolicking in bikinis on stone deities and using religious sites as backgrounds for raunchy pictures has led authorities to draw up rules of conduct stating what vacationers can do, and what is likely to get them banned from temples and other sites. “We’ve seen cases of tourists playing the guitar, stealing artifacts, and even engaging in immoral conduct at temples,” Gusti Ngurah Sudiana, chairman of the Bali-based Indonesia Hindu Society, was quoted by Daily Mail as saying. “Such insolent behavior is an insult to Hindus and must not happen again,” he said, adding other tourists can prompted outrage by sitting on holy shrines including the revered Linggih Padmasana shrine.

Bali takes its religious sites and rituals seriously, even enforcing a 24-hour “day of silence” to mark the New Year, with religious police patrolling the streets authorized to punish foreigners who stray from their hotels. Sudiana said a group has been set up including government officials and Hindu religious leaders to draft the new rules governing temples, which from now on will be locked when there are no prayer sessions. “Those wishing to pray to enter will have to ask the guardian,” he said. He made the remarks just days after Balinese authorities proposed a law banning people from wearing bikinis or skimpy outfits in sacred areas.

Cambodia already has such a law in place while Thailand operates a similar policy. Thai authorities were outraged last November when a gay couple from the U.S. bared their buttocks at Bangkok’s Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) and posted the “butt selfies” on Instagram. They were arrested and fined for public indecency. [International.la-croix.com October 2, 2018]


Researchers declare bore water near south Denpasar’s Suwung rubbish dump is badly polluted & unfit for human consumption

Beritabal.com reports that pollution indexes on ground well water drawn from areas surrounding the Suwung-Denpasar Rubbish Dump (TPA) are heavily polluted. Well water taken within a 1-200 meter parameter are “heavily polluted” (cemar berat) and at a distance of 201-400 meters as “generally polluted” (cemar sedang). The information on pollution levels was published in an Indonesian language article “A Study on Shallow Ground Water and Income for People Living Near the Swung Rubbish Dum in South Denpasar” that appeared in the Jurnal Ecotrophic. Researchers Agus Eka Subrata Jaya, I Wayan Suarna, and I Wayan Redi Aryanta wrote noting differing levels of pollution in water wells depending on their proximity to the massive TPA Suwung Rubbish Dump. Better water quality were found in water sources from bore wells. Researchers have found that water quality surrounding the TPA Suwung has continued to decline in quality testing carried out in 1998, 2008, and 2014. Polluted water is now found in wells as far as 400 meters from the rubbish dump. Generally, the water surrounding the TPA Suwung is sub-standard, failing to meet minimum standards set forth in the provincial Governor’s Regulation No. 8 of 2007. The researchers who are part of a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies at Udayana University recommend that the public living near the TPA Suwung not consume water taken from shallow ground water sources. The researchers also recommend that those in charge of TPA Suwung cease using an “open dumping system” and convert to a sanitary landfill system. [www.balidiscovery.com October 2, 2018]


Why Indonesia has so many earthquakes

With Indonesia, the question is not whether an earthquake will occur but when. The Southeast Asian archipelago nation is reeling after yet another powerful earthquake struck Friday, followed by a tsunami, leaving hundreds of people dead and hundreds injured. The walls of water engulfed towns, swept away buildings and tossed cars like toys. Indonesia is prone to earthquakes because it’s on the Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. The area shaped like a shoe spans 40,000 kilometers (25,000 miles) and is where a majority of the world’s earthquakes occur.

One of the most seismically active zones on the planet, it stretches from Japan and Indonesia on one side of the Pacific all the way across to California and South America on the other. “Plate tectonics and the Ring of Fire are the main reasons why Indonesia has so many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions,” CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar said. “The earth below them is constantly changing and constantly moving.” In recent months, the Indonesian archipelago has been hammered by earthquakes, a deadly reminder of the islands’ dangerous location. Residents were still recovering from a 6.4 magnitude earthquake that struck the popular tourist island of Lombok in July when a 6.9 temblor was reported in August. The July quake killed about 15 people, while more than 400 people died in the wake of the August 5 tremor, officials said. The latter was also felt in neighboring Bali, another popular tourist spot. The main earthquakes are followed by dozens of aftershocks that continue for days. [CNN September 30, 2018]