Minister orders immediate restoration of power and airport operations

Palu, C Sulawesi (ANTARA News) – Chief security minister Wiranto has ordered the Special Task Force dealing with the impact of earthquakes in Palu, Donggala and Sigi to immediately restore power supplies and airport services.

“These two things are key to the success of disaster management,” the coordinating minister for security, political and legal affairs told Antara at the Command Post of the task force at the official residence of the Central Sulawesi governor here on Saturday evening.

Wiranto said he had just finished presiding over a coordination meeting of ministers and officials iconcerned with disaster management, including the Social Affairs Minister, Home Affairs Minister, Transportation Minister, the Commander of the Indonesian Defense Forces, deputy police chief, head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency and chief of the National Search and Rescue Agency at the citys Mutiara airport.

“With our experience in dealing with the recent quake in Lombok, we are now more prepared in dealing with the disaster in Palu, and so it is hoped that the Presidents desire for a swift response will be carried out well,” he said.

Wiranto said there are three grids of the state-owned electricity company PLN that have been damaged and are to be immediately repaired.

“Availability of electricity supplies will determine the success of services, such as services in hospitals. The supply of fuel oils has also been disrupted due to the power supply problem,” he said.

Wiranto also ordered immediate restoration of the operation of the Mutiara Sis Al Jufri airport, which had its Air Traffic Control facilities severely damaged by the quake.

“The airport must immediately be restored so that commercial planes can land and distribute logistical supplies, volunteers and other aid, and for people to be able to visit their family members affected by the disaster,” he said.

Besides the ATC, the airports runway and waiting room have also been damaged. Only 2,000 of the 2,500 meter long runway is available to be used for landing of certain types of airplanes.

A number of military Hercules, Boeing 737, CN235 and helicopters have been seen landing and taking off at the airport carrying aid and logistical supplies, along with search and rescue personnel.

Source: ANTARA News