Jakarta. Pledges of aid for Indonesia’s twin disasters have come from abroad, despite the government saying it was not accepting foreign aid.
The European Commission has offered 1.5 million euros ($2 million) to help nearly 90,000 survivors of the tsunami and volcanic eruption that struck this week.
Most of the money was intended to help 65,000 people affected by the earthquake and tsunami in the remote Mentawai Islands west of Sumatra on Monday.
A further 22,000 people would receive European aid in Yogyakarta and Central Java, following Tuesday’s eruption of Mount Merapi, which killed 32 people, the European Union’s executive arm said.
The commission’s humanitarian partners would use the funds to provide water and sanitation to victims, access to primary health care and disease control, food, emergency telecommunications and emergency shelter.
“I am deeply concerned about the natural disasters that have struck Indonesia,” European aid chief Kristalina Georgieva said. “Indonesia is currently addressing a multitude of emergencies whose cumulative impact is putting local capacity under severe strain.”
This initial emergency assistance from the European Union executive would help fill “response gaps” in the main relief sectors and help “alleviate the suffering of survivors.”
“The EU has been and will continue to stand by its Indonesian partners in this time of need,” Georgieva said.
Meanwhile, Scot Marciel, the US ambassador to Indonesia, said on Friday that his government would give $2 million for the relief effort.
As a friend of Indonesia, the US was very concerned about the incidents and wanted to help in the humanitarian relief effort.
Australia, meanwhile, has offered almost $1 million in aid.
Paul Robilliard, charge d’affaires at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, said his government was also prepared to offer more support if needed.
He said the money would primarily be for the relief effort in the Mentawai Islands.
Parts of the fund would be in the form of donations to Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s biggest Islamic organizations, as well as the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI). All three organizations are involved in relief efforts in the Mentawai Islands and around Merapi.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday that the government was not accepting foreign aid and an assessment of needs was still being made.
“If the damage requires large assistance and we cannot handle it on our own, then [foreign aid] is one option we can take,” said Kusuma Habir, the ministry’s spokesman.
On Friday, Teuku Faizasyah, a presidential spokesman, said the government was aware of the donations by the European Commission, the United States and Australia.
“If they want to provide help, then the government will facilitate the channeling of those funds,” he said. “If it’s in the form of cash, we can guarantee that the money will be managed transparently.”
He said the government had not yet confirmed how the foreign aid could be transferred. “We appreciate their statements of their willingness to provide assistance,” Teuku said.