Field kitchens, shelters being set up amid fuel shortage, looting

People filling up bottles with fuel from a tanker truck in Palu, Central Sulawesi. The lack of fuel has caused mobile electricity generator units and water pumps to remain idle. Restoring electricity supply is likely to take about three days.
People filling up bottles with fuel from a tanker truck in Palu, Central Sulawesi. The lack of fuel has caused mobile electricity generator units and water pumps to remain idle. Restoring electricity supply is likely to take about three days.PHOTO: REUTERS

Bringing in fuel is a top priority in quake-affected Central Sulawesi to ensure a normal emergency response, the local authorities said yesterday.

However, significant progress in restoring electricity supplies would take about three days, they added.

"The supply of fuel, (given) current circumstances, is very limited. The lack of fuel has caused mobile electricity generator units, vehicles and water pumps to remain idle," Dr Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman for Indonesia's disaster management agency (BNPB), told reporters.

Mobile phone towers that rely on electricity have also stopped working.

Fuel depots that supply to Palu were damaged by last Friday's earthquake while roads to alternative depots in West Sulawesi sustained cracks or were otherwise left inaccessible because of landslides.

"We received reports today that a water truck was looted by local residents," Dr Sutopo said, adding that a dire shortage of basic items led people to act irresponsibly.

There were reports yesterday of looting at stores selling groceries or basic items in Palu.

 
 
 

The authorities were trying to get fuel from Poso, about a four-hour drive away, and nearby cities including Tolitoli and Parepare, Dr Sutopo added.

Indonesia's Social Affairs Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita has meanwhile arrived in Palu with a team to set up six field kitchens and tents to provide food and shelter for quake and tsunami victims in Palu and Donggala, which was closer to the epicentre.

Each field kitchen can prepare 2,000 meal packs three times a day, or 6,000 packs a day.

The team will also put up multi-purpose tents for emergency hospitals, distribute beds for patients lying on the lawn of the hospital, and set up an emergency centre in the city centre to help displaced residents.

"We will help residents to meet basic needs and provide other services such as counselling," the minister said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2018, with the headline 'Field kitchens, shelters being set up amid fuel shortage, looting'. Print Edition | Subscribe