Yudhoyono sends ministers to West Papua

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has assigned three ministers to go to Manokwari, West Papua to take necessary steps to help manage the disaster in the earthquake-hit area.

Yudhoyono told a press conference in Jakarta that Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto, Transportation Minister Jusman Syafii Jamal, and Social Affairs Minister Bachtiar Chamsyah would leave for Manokwari on Sunday.

“The (disaster management) system has been working, but to make certain I have sent three ministers to depart immediately,” he said as quoted by Kompas.com.

A series of powerful earthquakes hit Manokwari early Sunday morning. The Meteorology and Geophysics agency reported that a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the city at 2:43 a.m. The quake was followed by 18 aftershocks which went on until late Sunday morning, including a 7.6 magnitude quake at 5:33 a.m..

“I was able to contact West Papua Governor (Abraham O Atururi) at six o’clock. He was in the affected area. I told him to take emergency steps and to restore power lines and other facilities,” Yudhoyono said.

The president said that at least four were killed in the disaster and several homes and public facilities damaged in the disaster. “I will keep monitoring the situation,” he said. (dre)

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