Wed, 17 May 2000

Victims of Bogor aftershock need aid

BOGOR (JP): Officials revealed on Tuesday a shortfall in the amount of food aid for victims of a May 8 aftershock at Kampung Cileuksa Lebak, Jasinga district.

Village chief Ade Ruhandi said the victims were supposed to receive five tons of rice, 100 kilograms of salted fish and 40 boxes of noodles from the Bogor regency.

"We reweighed the food aid and found out that there was only 1.88 tons of rice and 67 kilograms of salted fish," he told reporters.

He said that he needed to respond to false accusations that he had swindled the aid, insisting that he had delivered the food to the victims before the arrival of the Bogor regency's aid.

"I borrowed the rice from other residents, who were not affected by the aftershock," he said.

Deputy speaker of Bogor regency council, H.E. Abdul Syukur, vowed that the council would question the whereabouts of the allegedly stolen rice.

"I have once withdrawn rice from the Bogor Logistic Agency (Dolog). The agency said each sack contained 50 kilograms of rice, but most sacks contained 47 and 48 kilograms of rice. Some only 45 kilograms," Syukur, also head of the Bogor office of the Indonesian Red Cross, said while citing his experience in dealing with Dolog officials.

He also questioned the whereabouts of the missing salted fish.

Meanwhile, the headmaster of SDN I Cileuksa elementary school, Uun Sutisna, said all 245 students of the school had to study at home because the school's classrooms had been used as temporary shelters for the victims.

About 586 residents of Kampung Cileuksa Lebak in Jasinga of Bogor regency were taken to temporary camps at the elementary school and nearby subdistrict office after the earthquake hit their village on May 8, leaving a huge fissure in the earth and destroying no less than 164 houses.

Several small aftershocks were also felt here on Monday and Tuesday but no fatalities or damage were reported.

Bogor administration spokesman Helmi Gustian said officials were preparing a geographical study into the temblor. The fissure in the village was measured at one kilometer and 0.5 to one meter in depth.

"We have prepared a 10-hectare plot of state-owned Pasir Madang Plantation for the relocation of residents. There is the possibility that the village is in a geographical area prone to earthquakes and might no longer be able to stay there," Helmi said.

Syukur said the administration would not provide a special budget for the construction of new houses for the victims.

"The Bogor regency council did not allocate part of the budget for natural disasters in its 1999/2000 budget," he said. (21/edt/imn)