Jokowi Visits Quake Victims, Orders Fast Reconstruction Of Public Buildings

Time stood still for this young boy who holds a clock showing the time when the earthquake struck, at Kuta Pangwa village in Pidie Jaya. – Photo credit AFP
Time stood still for this young boy who holds a clock showing the time when the earthquake struck, at Kuta Pangwa village in Pidie Jaya. – Photo credit AFP

JAKARTA – President Joko Widodo Friday visited the victims of Wednesday’s earthquake in Aceh province of Indonesia’s Sumatra island that claimed the lives of 102, injured over 1,000 and left more than 10,000 homeless.

He toured areas where buildings had crumbled in three regencies of the province.

The President, popularly known as Jokowi, reportedly chaired a special meeting with the local authorities and rescue teams and gave orders to expedite reconstruction of damaged public buildings.

“The priority is to reconstruct damaged public buildings. Most importantly, the evacuation of victims to hospitals and provision of aid have been handled well,” news portal detik.com quoted him as saying.

An earthquake of 6.5-magnitude rocked the Pidie Jaya, Pidie and Bireuen regencies, about 500km from the provincial capital Banda Aceh, on Wednesday.

The search-and-rescue operation, in which more than 1,000 people are involved, continues and the number of casualties could rise as rescuers have yet to reach deep into many collapsed buildings.

Many residents who fled their homes in time are reportedly too traumatised to return for fear of aftershocks.

An aftershock of 3.9-magnitude struck Pidie Jaya Thursday.

Aceh was struck by a 9-magnitude earthquake on Dec 26, 2004, that triggered a tsunami which killed over 170,000 people.