World Bank offers financial assistance to disaster-hit Indonesia

The World Bank announced Sunday it would provide up to $1 billion (€860 million) in loans to the Indonesian government to help relief and reconstruction efforts in areas hit by recent earthquakes and a tsunami.

Kristalina Georgieva, the bank’s CEO, unveiled the funds in Bali during its annual meeting.

“Disasters will continue to hit, and with climate change there will be more,” said Georgieva, who earlier visited Palu City, which was hit by a 7.5-magnitude quake and a resulting tsunami last month.

Indonesia West Sumatra -Häuser und Straßen wurden durch Flut und Erdrutsche beschädigt (BNPB)

Recent flash floods and landslides devastated parts of Sumatra

“The best memorial we can build for the victims of disaster is to build better, so next time when a disaster hits, fewer people are affected, fewer lives are lost, and there is less damage,” he added.

Indonesia sits on one of the most tectonically active parts of the world, and is prone to earthquakes as well as occasional tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.

On Saturday, torrential rains triggered flash floods and landslides on the island of Sumatra, killing 27 people, including a dozen school children.

Read more:The last mile — What failed in the Sulawesi tsunami disaster 

Difficult relief work

At least 2,000 people have died and thousands displaced as a result of last month’s twin disasters on Sulawesi Island.

Rescue teams called off the search for the dead after scouring the rubble for a fortnight. As many as 5,000 more people are presumed dead.

Aid groups say it could take up to two years to resettle the displaced people. There is also a shortage of clean drinking water and medical supplies in the disaster-hit areas.

But on Tuesday, the Indonesian government ordered foreign NGOs helping with rescue efforts to collect their staff and leave the country. The news came as a shock to aid workers who saw their Indonesian counterparts struggling to keep up with the devastation left by the earthquake and tsunami.

Indonesia has traditionally shied away from accepting outside help in the wake of disasters. Foreign organizations were not permitted to come and help after an earthquake struck the island of Lombok earlier this year.

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shs/jm (AFP, dpa, AP)