Humanitarian Assistance for Tasikmalaya

In the past seven years the Tasik Children Foundation has devoted itself to repair schools and assist children and their families in Tasikmalaya in close Cooperation with the parents. We were devastated to learn of the earthquake of 2nd September 2009 that killed dozens of people and injured many more.

UNDP reported 82,000 people became roofless. There is an urgent need for clean water and emergency housing.

Thanks to European-Indonesian pipe water company PALYJA in Jakarta, water tank cars now assist with the provision of clean water. An effort is made to create a rotating water service system with several water companies.

There is no answer yet to an urgent call to assist with emergency housing. For around 500 dollars per unit temporary houses can be built with local materials and by local people themselves. Following a visit to Tasik I estimate that around 2.5 million dollars is required to help all roofless people.

Several schools are badly damaged. Among these are two schools on opposite mountain tops in Cigalontang. Both have been rendered useless. 520 and 150 pupils respectively require an emergency structure to continue their classes. We are now looking for circus/military army tents or other similar structures to provide immediate relief for the troubled schools. Please find enclosed our report visit to Tasikmalaya on 12 to 13 September 2009 for your kind information. I can be reached at the PA Asia Jakarta office, tel. +62 21 392 2070, yucemaria@pa-asia.com , or the PA Europe Brussels office, tel. +32 2 735 83 96, karenmeesen@pa-europe.com.

I thank you very much in advance for your consideration and support.

Best regards,

Rio D. Praaning Prawira Adiningra

EARTHQUAKE IN TASIKMALAYA:
LIMITED BUT SERIOUS DAMAGES
Enough despair to provide help

On 2 September 2009 Indonesia once again experienced a serious earthquake. While the Jogya quake measured 6.3 on the Richter scale, sources in Jakarta quoted a 7.3 quake around 180km South West of Java. All buildings in Jakarta trembled and hundreds of high rise buildings were immediately emptied. Thousands of people rushed down the staircases, causing one heart attack and the death of a pregnant woman.

“It was an eerie feeling. Our building swept from one side to the other. There was panic and we all rushed down. I still have a muscle ache after storming down 29 floors”, said a senior businessman.

Messages from Jakarta immediately led to global news. After so many disasters, damages and deaths, access to key information is ever faster. www.earthquake.usgs.gov clearly reported a major earthquake of 7.3 in the ocean South of Tasikmalaya. After about an hour it reported no Tsunami could be expected. No information on damage or injuries.

Tasikmalaya
The Regency of Tasikmalaya stretches from Bandung to Java’s southern coast and is inhabited by 3 million people. Around 2 million live in Tasikmalaya city (Kota). The others are scattered over a mountainous area including thousands of smaller and larger villages, stunningly beautiful valleys and rivers, rich agricultural grounds producing the popular ‘queen of the fruits’ mangosteen and impressive coastal lines ready to deliver cheap iron to the nations. The regency’s iron sand is among the many natural wealths that wait to be exploited by the Indonesian people.
In this waiting period the average per capita income is very low: 174.290 rupiah or less than 20 USD per month. Plans to build a port and hinterland infrastructure are in the refrigerator. For the time being the people must cope with a myriad of small roads, minimal healthcare and lacking water resources. There are many rivers, but insufficient pumps and irrigation. The level of education is rather low and many schools are seriously debilitated. But the younger generation is ambitious and Tasikmalayans are known to occupy key positions in many industrial sectors. Positioned “between Australia and Bandung” with potential sea links to Singapore and Surabaya, Tasikmalaya holds the promise of a successful future based on a prosperous past.

SBY
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited the stricken area immediately and he correctly concluded that the damage to people and property was too limited for an international call for support. As a weathered statesman he has gone through series of natural and other disasters and he knows what to ask of whom. This time he called on national, regional and local authorities to immediately clean up and repair. During a private conversation with incoming Vice President Pak Boediono, it was added that cooperation between NGOs should fill the gaps.

Satkorlak is the Indonesian organization responsible for an immediate response to crises. Indeed, many efforts to prepare public facilities and provide food and water to the people have clearly started. Smaller schools – though not all of those damaged – are being repaired. Promises are made to individual citizens who now live in unprofessional tents, usually next to their uninhabitable or damaged houses.

“We do receive foods and also water. But it is not enough and we do not know when the promised Government funding will reach us”,
a bereaved citizen of Kota Tasikmalaya says. Only three years ago he built his modest house for 25 million rupiah. One wall has
collapsed and you can just step into his living room. The other three walls are upheld by wooden logs. Nobody dares saying the house is beyond repair. “The authorities promise five million rupiah for heavily damaged houses and three million for the others. I do not think we can cope”, the Tasikmalayan says. “But at least no one got killed”.

Damaged and destroyed houses
Most severely hit are areas around Cigalontang, 25km South of Tasik City. UNDP reported 82,000 homeless people. Over 60 people were killed and those alive have serious problems with food and particularly water. “Initially thousands of people became homeless. But quite a few now live with their neighbours and families. The rest lives in improvised tents next to their houses. Most of the houses that are hit here are beyond repair. People are in doubt whether to wait for any Government support or to build temporary homes. Temperatures here can go up to some 40 degrees. The rain season starts next month. We already coped with the usual respiratory and intestinal diseases. But we should act before a more serious breakout occurs”. Pak Dedi is a local community leader. From the rumbles of the destroyed houses he has built small emergency homes. The walls are made of bamboo. The glass windows have been saved from the rumbles and so have the roof tiles. The small building is lifted around 40 cm off the ground,
protecting the inhabitants from heavy rainfall. The wooden roof structure gives full protection against rain, but allows a pleasant flow of fresh air into the small house. “With some guidance the families can build these emergency homes themselves within several days. The problem is to find adequate pieces of wood etc. If we buy this on the market, the total cost will be around five million rupiah (500 USD).”Obviously this is a great ‘invention’ and we asked Pak Dedi to develop a simple design book for use everywhere else. He immediately agrees to write such a simple document that is detailed enough for all stricken families to use. “But the problem is money. These people have nothing left and they must wait for Government support.” The Tasik Children’s Foundation is ready to fund as much as possible. The foundation agrees to contact companies and authorities in Jakarta, both domestic and foreign, to see what can be done within a simple, transparent and effective structure.

The same applies to water. Throughout Tasikmalaya, pipe water is sparse and the mountainous, rugged area is a headache for those in the family responsible for water intake. Some have to walk for miles with jerry cans and after the quake even the usual water system is dysfunctional. The French-Indonesian company PALYJA supplies piped water in Jakarta and is immediately willing to supply its water tank cars to Cigalontang. They are immediately linked up with Satkorlak and the local authorities. As of 15th September, they will drive around with 4,000 liters per car. The authorities have agreed to identify rivers to tap from and to place water reservoirs close to the places in need. Pak Dedi and others are enthusiastic and grateful. If the water crisis continues, the French company will try to cooperate with a pool of water authorities and companies taking turns in supplying water.

At the end of Saturday, 12 September 2009, Pak Eddy of Kota Tasikmalaya confirms that the city authorities will cooperate with the Kabupaten (Regency) authorities to make this immediate and free system work. At the same time and on behalf of Cigalontang, the Camat (Head of Sub-district) also agrees and so the water problem may well be solved.

Schools
The most dramatic images are provided by two schools: SMPN Cigalontang (Junior High) and SMAN Cigalontang (High School). Both are positioned in the most beautiful surroundings on the top of mountains with phenomenal views. Only two years ago and for a mere 700 million rupiah (70,000 USD) a Cigalontang Parents Committee built the high school for 130 pupils. If these would have been in their classrooms during the earthquake, they would all have been killed instantly.

The cause of the collapse of virtually the entire school is not only the earthquake but also the use of inferior materials. The cement between the bricks crumbles like a biscuit in our hands. The supporting crossbeams that fell to the ground are broken at several places and demonstrate a similar quality as the cement. “The construction company that built this school must be very pleased. If pupils and teachers had been killed, they would have been sued as criminals. They may get away with it now. And there is no insurance.” The Deputy Headmaster listened resignedly to this verdict. “Look at the foundations. They are only skin deep. Government experts have now told us that the soil is very unstable. A permission to build should never have been provided. We now get away with a deeply shocking experience but no injuries because the building was totally empty when the quake hit. However, we have no clue how to continue classes. We have nowhere to go and Government funding may take a long time to reach us.” The Deputy Headmaster looks hopeful at foreign aid. “We would so much appreciate any help anyone can give. In the short term perhaps an emergency tent for around 150 pupils will help. Maybe you can bring this to Jakarta’s attention?”

The junior high school on another mountain top is clearly better constructed. But the damage is so heavy that it will take quite some time before this school is repaired and safe for use. The school is well managed. It has reached the highest level of quality of teaching in Indonesia. Additional funding was thus provided and the school proudly includes a laboratory, a music room and good sports facilities. “It is dramatic that this happens at the start of the season. But thank God the school was empty when theearthquake struck.” While the Headmaster speaks, parents disbelievingly check what remains of certain classrooms. Several have totally collapsed but most can be repaired. All classrooms are empty. The wooden chairs and tables are piled up in the middle of the school square and covered by blue plastic.

“We have not figured out how to resume classes. Perhaps ten tents for 60 pupils each would work. We are weeks away of the rain season. At the same time temperatures under this tent can rise considerably. So, special facilities are required to obtain an acceptable working environment for teachers and pupils.” The Headmaster provides a list of everything that was broken and rendered useless. The total is already around 100,000 USD. “The repair of the school for our over 500 pupils can in no way be paid by the local community. We are waiting for a Government decision what to do with the pupils. Repair will take at least a year. If funding becomes available.”

Conclusion and action
After the tsunami of three years ago, fate struck again at Tasikmalaya. Essential infrastructure still stands but in line with UNDP reporting it is clear that there is a dramatic need for clean water and emergency housing both for families and schools.

Water
The European-Indonesian company PALYJA started today with the provision of clean water through their water tank cars and they may be able to lead a consortium of water companies to continue this support on a rotating basis.

Emergency housing
Several companies and organizations already acted or expressed their interest to do so. Unless IOM (International Organization for Migration) can deliver rapidly more effective or cheaper pre-fab emergency housing, funds should be raised to assist the local community through their local leaders to construct small wooden/rotan emergency houses with local materials and by the families themselves. In Cigalontang around 400 emergency houses are required. Throughout Tasik three to four thousand houses may be required while damaged or destroyed houses are being repaired or rebuilt. This would cost around 2.5 million USD.

Schools
In the direct vicinity of both the junior high school and the high school are adequate flat areas that can host solid emergency buildings or large tents for 150, respectively 550 pupils and teachers. Perhaps 7 tents for the high school (6 for the pupils and 1 for the teachers) and 10 tents for the junior high school would be an appropriate solution. The total required budget for tents, essential teaching equipment and transportation would be around 20,000 Euro.

Please contact Yuce Siti Maria (yucemaria@pa-asia.com) at the PA Asia Jakarta office or Karen Meesen (karenmeesen@pa-europe.com) at the PA Europe Brussels office with any offers of support or ideas to resolve the problem.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Rio D. Praaning Prawira Adiningrat
rdp@pa-asia.com
15 September 2009


For those who wish to make a donation:

Tasik Children’s Foundation
In the Netherlands:
ABN AMRO – The Hague
Account number: 45.83.46.578
IBAN: NL61ABNA0458346578
BIC: ABNANL2A

In Indonesia:
Bank Negara Indonesia – Tasikmalaya
Account number: 026 0014 501 01 001

PA Board Members & Advisers

Rio Praaning Prawira Adiningrat,
PA Managing Partner
Karin Riis-Jørgensen, PA Board
Member and ALDE Vice Chairperson
Mark Eyskens (Belgium), former Prime Minister and former Minister of Finance, of Foreign Affairs, of the Budget and of Development Cooperation of Belgium; Chairman of PA International Foundation. Frits Bolkestein, PA Board Member,
is Professor of Intellectual Foundations of Political Developments at the Universities of Leiden and Delft (NL). He is former Member of the European Commission for the Internal Market (1999-2004), former Dutch Minister of Defence, former Minister of Foreign Trade and former Director of Shell Chimie, Paris
Baron Paul De Keersmaeker,
Honorary Chairman, former Minister of Agriculture, Belgium
Andries van Agt, PA Board Member,
is former Prime Minister of the Netherlands and former Ambassador of the European Commission to Japan and to the USA.
David Webber, PA Senior
Consultant and Partner
Dr. Willem F. van Eekelen,
PA Board Member and former Dutch Defense Minister
Dr. Werner Christie, PA Asia Beijing Chairman and former Norwegian Health Minister Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, former
Indonesian Minister of Environment
Dr. Qin Zhenkui, Vice Chairman of PA Asia Beijing, former President of the Chinese Academy of Inspection and Quarantine (CAIQ), former Director General of Import and Export Food Safety Bureau of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of P.R.C. (AQSIQ) Sabam Siagian, PA Board Member,
is former Editor-in-Chief and co- founder of Indonesia's authoritative 'The Jakarta Post'. He was also Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Australia.
Mrs. Wakako Hironaka,
Member of the Japanese Senate (Diet) and former Environment Minister
Willy Wiguna, PA Board Member,
was Chairman of one of the largest Indonesian pension and insurance companies, and is Member of the Board of several Indonesian and multinational companies and former Director-General of PBEC, the Pacific Basin top industry organisation
Elmar Bouma, Senior CSR
expert and Director of INA
Alexander Bessmertnykh,
PA Board Member and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia
Professor Dr. Ruud J. Schotting,
Sultan Qaboos Academic Chair on Quantative Water Management
Younis Al Balushi,
Chairman of the Standing Economic Committee of the Majlis A’Shura (Parliament of the Sultanate of Oman)

 

 

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