Tragically, the year is getting off to a busy start. The BBC has the latest:
An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 has rocked eastern Indonesia, seismologists say.
The tremor struck south-west of Manokwari, West Papua province, at 0443 on Sunday (1943 GMT), the US Geological Survey said.
Residents ran outdoors and to higher ground, but a tsunami alert was withdrawn within an hour.
The Indonesian archipelago lies over several continental plates where seismic activity happens regularly.
While the local seismology agency said the quake had a magnitude of 7.2, the US Geological Survey put the quake at a stronger 7.6.
Hasim Rumatiga, a local health official, told Associated Press that electricity went off and residents ran to higher ground.
A policeman said that without power it was difficult to check for damage in Manokwari, the seaside capital of the province, AFP news agency reported.
He added that the police and military had been helping people get to higher ground.
A huge quake off western Indonesia on 26 December, 2004 caused a massive tsunami that killed around 230,000 people around the region.
UPDATE: Here is the latest from the BBC.
An early warning system for Indonesia. Good stuff. From the Spiegel Online article:
German scientists have designed a tsunami early warning system for the Indian Ocean. The project aims to protect Indonesians by giving them enough time to escape the danger. The ultimate goal is speed.
Nils Goseberg is very worried about the Siti Nurbaya Bridge in Padang. The 80-meter (262-foot) bridge spans the Arau River and anyone fleeing a tsunami would most likely need to cross it.
Goseberg, who works at the Franzius Institute of Hydraulics, Waterways and Coastal Engineering in the northern German city of Hanover, faces a problem that seems borderline absurd: How to evacuate Padang, a city of 800,000 people, in just 20 minutes?
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The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch is reporting that the Cooperative Housing Foundation (CHF) has finished construction on a multi-million dollar Polyteknik Aceh in Banda Aceh, Indonesia with funding from Chevron and USAID.
Polyteknik Aceh has 20 classrooms, laboratories and lecturers’ offices, as well as an administration office, auditorium, library, amphitheater, and a spacious, comfortable open area. Although 300 students will be part of the school’s initial enrollment, it will ultimately accommodate around 1,000 students. The project was made possible by a partnership of Chevron, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the government of Aceh. Complementing this initiative, the government of Aceh has just completed construction of three vocational high schools in other parts of the province.
I am not sure if our CHF friend had anything to do with this but if you did then kudos to you, Jeff!
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Tagged Aceh, tsunami
The Guardian has a great article titled: Indonesia: Aceh villagers face homelessness again – in name of tsunami aid from US government where they detail the destruction of homes that were erected by charities after the 2004 tsunami in order to make way for a new USAID funded road project from Banda Aceh to Meulaboh.
Months after new quake-proof homes on stilts were built, almost half could be torn down to make way for a coastal highway billed as the US government’s signature project for tsunami reconstruction.
We were in Indonesia about a year ago and I remember driving along this same road and observing as literally half a house was torn down to afford the necessary set back that the new road required. The mortar on the bricks hadn’t even dried and they were already dismantling the structures.
It is hard to point fingers as the unbelievable sums of money that were made available for tsunami reconstruction actually seemed to make the job of rebuilding more difficult than easier. I heard numerous complaints from aid workers that they just had too much money and nowhere to spend it. I am not sure it was a failure of the system rather than a surplus of funding. We observed rows and rows of houses that were totally abandoned and were told that there was so much housing available that some families had 3rd and 4th homes and they were renting out the spaces they were not living in.
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Tagged Aceh, tsunami, USAID