Chaos in Palu after quake and tsunami as survivors deal with hunger, thirst

By Ruslan Sangadji and Andi Hajramurni in Palu, Indonesia

In the wake of mass destruction caused by Indonesia’s 7.4-magnitude earthquake and the subsequent tsunami, survivors in Palu and Donggala in Central Sulawesi have been scrambling to salvage food supplies and other items, as aid from the central government began to trickle into the region.

Yesterday, many survivors blocked trucks carrying aid to plunder the contents as many have gone hungry and thirsty for days.

A video circulating on Twitter, said to have been taken in Donggala regency, also shows people intercepting a relief aid truck.

VIEW MORE: Drone video footage shows scale of Palu tsunami devastation

The Jakarta Post’s correspondent saw people waiting for fuel at a Pertamina gas station asking the entourage of journalists and officials from Jakarta for drinking water.

Local news report on the chaos in Palu.

“Drinking water, drinking water, please,” some survivors said to passing motorists.


“I ran into a mother and her child at the airport who asked me to share some of my water with her child,” correspondent Andi Hajramurni said.

“Just a little, enough for my child,” Hajramurni quoted the mother as saying to her.

Upset over aid
A pregnant woman was also found exhausted outside the airport. She said she was upset to see aid being unloaded from the planes but none reaching the survivors waiting to leave the city at the airport.

Thousands crowded Mutiara Sis Al Jufri airport to leave the devastated city while staving off hunger and thirst under the scorching heat.

The survivors have been waiting for a chance to flee the city since Saturday, camping outside on mats or cardboard. They were hoping to catch a plane to Makassar to later go to their respective hometowns.

“What is important is to get out of Palu. We have agreed to meet Papa in Makassar and then go to Jakarta,” Paramita said. The 29-year-old, who sustained an injury to her leg from falling concrete debris, is taking her two sisters with her.

Desperate and impatient, the survivors were occupying part of the runway.

An airport official, Syaeful, said that on Sunday night, about 5000 people had waited for a plane at the airport. “The number keeps increasing,” he said.

Earthquake survivors in Palu, Central Sulawesi, crowd Mutiara Sis Al Jufri Airport in Palu in a desperate attempt to leave the devastated area on Monday. Image: Andi Hajramurni/Jakarta Post

Some businesses, such as at Masomba traditional market, have opened for businesses and some survivors have bought food supplies.

“I bought some fish,” the Post’s correspondent Ruslan Sangadji, who is also a survivor of the quake, said.

Food, clean water scarce
However, food and clean water are scarce and many are desperate.

In Buluri subdistrict, Ulujadi district in the western part of Palu, survivors blocked roads to intercept trucks carrying food supplies. Police officers in the area are reported to be unable to hold off the crowd.

Similarly, residents in Tawaeli district in central Palu have taken to a nearby port to intercept government aid arriving on ships. The police were also reported to be unable to ward off the desperate crowd.

A handful of residents even looted nearby convenience stores for any life-sustaining item they could find, since aid from the government had not yet arrived.

Many also attempted to siphon fuel from gas stations around the city over the weekend as none of the city’s gas stations were in operation following the earthquake and tsunami that hit the city on Friday.

Jokowi’s message
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Sunday asked quake survivors to be patient as they wait for aid to be distributed upon arriving in Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi.

Jokowi said it would take one week to prepare the airport so airplanes carrying the supplies could land safely.

“I’m aware there are a lot of issues that need to be resolved as soon as possible, and I hope the people will remain patient in this situation,” he told the reporters.

Yesterday, Jokowi said he would send “as much food as possible” immediately.

Several people also reportedly robbed ATMs and jewelry shops. Twitter user @MpuAnon posted a video showing gold shops that looked like they had been looted.

“Gold shops. Post-looting,” the Twitter user said in the caption.

The police are reported to have ordered a shoot on sight policy against such robbers.

Guards on gas stations
In an attempt to maintain and restore order in the region, the National Police and the National Military have employed personnel to guard several gas stations and convenience stores across Palu, according to the police’s head of communication Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo.

Previously, Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo advised against looting – not even in the wake of a natural disaster – as the act is considered criminal.

“There’s no justification whatsoever for looting. Everyone’s equally affected by the disaster; their shops destroyed, shopping malls devastated,” Tjahjo said during a televised interview, as quoted by

Prior to Sunday’s statement, news spread on social media that the government had approved of the looting at convenience stores and that the expenses would be covered by the state.

However, Tjahjo denied it, saying that what the government had approved was the transfer of aid funds to the Central Sulawesi administration, to be used for food supplies for survivors.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Boe climate and security pact big step forward, but lacks a gender drive

The major item on the agenda at last week’s Pacific Islands Forum was climate change. However, a gender gap appears to be at play within climate change itself. Jessica Marshall reports for Asia Pacific Journalism.

The content of the Boe Declaration, signed at the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru earlier this month, is not widely known. However, a statement from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern suggests that it declares climate change as a security issue.

“The Boe Declaration acknowledges additional collective actions are required to address new and non-traditional challenges. Modern-day regional security challenges include climate change,” she said in a statement.

Both the Leaders Communique and the declaration itself affirm the fact that climate change is a real issue. However, it is discussion of gender in light of that is lacking.

READ MORE: Nauru 2018 and the new Boe on the block


According to a report by Oxfam, men survived women 3 to 1 in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) suggests that this was because women were trapped in their homes at the time of the disaster “while men were out in the open”.


The agency also suggest that a cultural or religious custom can restrict a woman’s ability to survive a natural disaster.

“. . . the clothes they wear and/or their responsibilities in caring for children could hamper their mobility in times of emergency,” a UNDP report says.

Caregivers and providers
Figures from the United Nations show that 80 percent of those displaced by climate change were women. This, they argue, is caused primarily by their roles as caregivers and providers of food.

London School of Economics research indicates that women and girls are definitively more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than their male counterparts.

In societies where women are considered to be lower on the metaphorical food chain, “natural disasters will kill . . . more women than men,” the report says.

The two researchers could find no biological reason why women would be at more risk than men.

Based on this research, and other research like it, many public figures have called for attention to be paid to the issue.

“More extreme weather events. . . will all result in less food. Less food will mean that women and children get less,” dystopian author Margaret Atwood told a London conference in June.

The author of books like The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake said that climate change “. . . will also mean social unrest, which can lead to wars and civil wars . . . Women do badly in wars”.

Primarily burdened
When asked about the issue at an event at Georgetown University in February, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that “. . . women. . . will be . . . primarily burdened with the problems of climate change”.

Earlier this month, former NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark told a crowd of about 200 people at the National Council of Women (NCW) conference that the world was close to missing the opportunity to tend to the issue of climate change and women were most likely to be affected by it.

“Everything we know tells us that women are the most vulnerable in this,” she said. “If you look at the natural disasters caused by weather. . . more women die”.

According to Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, President of the Marshall Islands, women are more affected by climate change than their male counterparts but are also “less likely to be empowered to cope”.

“Women aren’t making enough of the decisions, and the decisions aren’t yet doing enough for women,” she wrote in The Guardian.

The UNDP argues it is because of a woman’s place in the household that she is in prime position to affect change when it comes to this issue.

“. . . knowledge and capabilities [regarding reproduction, household and community roles] can and should be deployed for/in climate change mitigation, disaster relief and adaptation strategies,” the report says..

Feminist solution
“A feminist solution” is what former Irish President and UN Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson argued for in June.

She explained that “feminism doesn’t mean excluding men, it’s about being more inclusive of women and – in this case – acknowledging the role they can play in tackling climate change”.

She’s not the only, nor the first, to make such a suggestion.

A whole feminist environmental movement, known as ecofeminism, has sprung up over the decades since the 1970s.

At its most basic level, ecofeminism is exactly what it sounds like: It argues that there is a relationship between environmental damage – such as that done by climate change – and the oppression of women and their rights.

For example, in her 2014 book This Changes Everything, journalist Naomi Klein argues that it is hypocritical that the self-same lawmakers who claim to be “pro-life” are also the ones who push for whole industries surrounding drilling, fracking and mining to not only survive but thrive.

Business confidence
“If the Earth is indeed our mother, then far from the bountiful goddess of mythology, she is a mother facing many great fertility challenges,” she writes.

In New Zealand, leader of the opposition National Party Simon Bridges, who is opposed to the idea of removing abortion from the Crimes Act, is also vehemently opposed to the idea of stopping oil and gas exploration in the Taranaki region.

His concern is that “It will have an effect on business confidence,” he said back in April.

The truth of climate change, as with most global issues, is that there can be no one-size fits all solution.

For some, like Helen Clark, it requires long-term mass movements. For others, it requires being invited to the conversation.

Time will tell as to which one wins out.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Typhoon Mangkhut devastates north of Philippines with at least 25 dead

Typhoon Mangkhut as seen from the foyer of the of the Mira de Polaris hotel about 15 km from the heart of San Nicolas. Video: Jeremaiah M. Opiniano/Cafe Pacific

By Jeremaiah M. Opiniano in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte

Howling winds and heavy volumes of rainfall brought more than a third of the Philippines and its 103 million citizens to a standstill at the weekend with at least 25 people dead.

The width of this typhoon dubbed Mangkhut (local name: Ompong) —900 km in radius— hit communities far and near the eye of the storm, which passed by this province nearly noon yesterday.

Paved streets, mountain systems and agricultural plains here in this municipality are largely unsafe to walk due to the gusty winds and heavy rainfall.

READ MORE: Philippines death toll rises as Typhoon Mangkhut barrels towards China

San Nicolas is a microcosm of what hit the Philippines’ largest island of Luzon.


Mangkhut is perceived to be stronger than 2016’s third strongest typhoon worldwide: Haima (local name: Lawin). Lawin was tagged a “super typhoon” given recorded sustained winds of 225 kph (10-minute standard) and wind gusts of 315 kmh.

Ompong reached its highest sustained winds of 205 kph (just under the 220 kph minimum sustained winds to be tagged technically as a super typhoon), say Filipino meteorologists.

But Mangkut’s width was larger than Haima’s 800 km.

The relatively peaceful eye of Typhoon Mangkhut as experienced at some 15 km from the municipality of San Nicolas in Ilocos Norte province. The photo was taken from Mira de Polaris hotel in San Nicolas. Image: Jeremaiah Opiniano/PMC

Heavily-hit provinces
Heavily-hit provinces were in Luzon’s northern and north-western parts like the province of Cagayan (where its municipality of Baggao was where Mangkhut first made landfall at dawn yesterday).

Then Mangkhut passed by Ilocos Norte, driving a swathe of rain and gusty winds from 10 am to 12 noon.

About 11:45 am, the eye of the storm —the calm portion of the typhoon with no rain and wind for some 15 to 30 minutes — can be seen in neighbouring Batac City, 15 km from San Nicolas.

Nearby provinces Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Kalinga and Apayao felt the strong winds and rain.

However, television and radio reports showed that even provinces and communities that are at least 300 kms south of Cagayan and Ilocos Norte provinces felt the strength of Mangkhut’s rains and winds. That included the Philippines’ capital region, Metro Manila.

Reports are still being collected from across Luzon as to how many people died and are missing.

Estimated damages to crops and property will come after the storm leaves the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) tomorrow morning.

Death, damage estimates
As in every natural disaster, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRMMC) collects reports from local governments and provides estimates of deaths and damages to property within a week from the disaster.

Haima or Lawin left 18 Filipinos dead and damaged some 3.74 billion pesos (US$77.6 million) in damages.

It is not that Filipinos, their municipal/city/provincial governments, and the national government led by President Rodrigo Duterte were unprepared for this kind of natural disasters.

The Philippines learned bitter lessons on disaster preparedness and risk reduction the hard way when the world’s strongest typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda) rammed coastal and landlocked communities in central Philippines —the Visayas group of Islands.

Haiyan left some 7000-10,000 people dead and a global outpouring of support and disaster aid to the Philippines.

Here in San Nicolas, a small hotel named Mira de Polaris felt the impact of a shattered glass and a huge SUV tyre fall down from the four-storey building.

On Friday, hotel owners had to cut down two trees in the hotel’s facade.

“We might create more damage had we not cut down those trees,” said a male receptionist.

Wrath of Haima
This place also felt the wrath of Haima: the roof a Shell gas station near Mira de Polaris, in Valdez Ave, collapsed in 2016.

This petrol station is still referred to as the “Shell station” by local jeepney drivers, but its markings as a Shell outlet are not as visible as before Haima struck.

President Rodrigo Duterte deployed department secretaries from affected areas to become the faces of national government’s support to affected typhoon victims.

Opening his third year in the presidency after his state of the nation address (SONA) on July 23, Duterte’s officials proposed to Philippine Congress that a department or ministry of disaster resilience be created.

Jeremaiah Opiniano is assistant professor of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) journalism programme. He is also a PhD student (geography) at the University of Adelaide, South Australia.

A father carries his sick child after their ambulance was blocked by a toppled electric post in Baggao town, Cagayan, Philippines, yesterday. Image: Ted Aljibe/Rappler/AFP

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Harsh response lessons abound in wake of PNG’s quake devastation

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Harsh response lessons abound in wake of PNG’s quake devastation

BRIEFING: By Sylvester Gawi in Tari, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s Highlands earthquake disaster has brought to light some of the many things that need to be considered in assisting those affected by disaster and restoring vital infrastructures and communication links between relief agencies and the people.

The response to the 7.5 magnitude earthquake on February 26 took almost a week for the National Disaster Centre to find out statistics of people who were affected, casualties, homes and food gardens destroyed and how to deliver relief supplies to those affected.

While a small team of medical officers in Hela and Southern Highlands provinces have been hard at work trying to reach and assist the affected communities, more deaths and injuries were reported from areas unreachable by road and telecommunications.

READ MORE: PNG quake – an invisible disaster which could change life forever

These are some of the impediments to getting accurate statistics;

  • Most communities do not have schools, clinics and ward offices that will keep the records of people in their wards or communities.
  • No road links to almost all the areas affected. The rugged terrain also makes it difficult for roads to be constructed and maintained.
  • No telecommunication reception, or television and radio signals by which the people can be advised and educated on the disasters and how to avoid destruction.
Timu village from the top showing the site where 11 people were buried by landslips during the earthquake on 26 February 2018. Four of the bodies have been recovered, seven are still buried, including five children. Image: Sylvester Gawi/Graun Blong Mi- My Land

At Timu village in Komo-Magarima, Hela province, 11 people were were killed by landslips caused by the earthquake.

Four out of the 11 bodies were recovered while the other seven bodies are still buried under the debris.

Timu village is just a few tens of kilometres away from the provincial capital Tari but it is way back in terms of basic services available for the people.

No benefits from gas pipeline
The people knew that there is a gas pipeline running through their neighbouring villages from Hides to the Papuan coastline but they have not seen the benefits from the gas and petroleum extraction in the province.

Teams of researchers and volunteers from relief agencies were tasked to collect data, informations and statistics of people who have been affected, but they can only be flown by helicopter into the affected areas.

Mendi School of Nursing building in the Southern Highlands which was damaged by the earthquake. Image: Sylvester Gawi/Graun Blong Mi- My Land

There are no medivac helicopters to transport relief supplies and doctors into the affected communities.

The PNG Defence Force, Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and Adventist Aviation Services were kind enough to do trips into these remote communities.

The cost of hiring a helicopter in PNG is quite expensive. Helicopter companies are charging around K5000 (about NZ2200) an hour. With most communities being isolated in the remote areas, it is costly and ineffective to attend to more than five villages in a day.

The Australian Defence Force Hercules aircraft transporting relief supplies from Port Moresby, Lae and Mt Hagen has been landing at Moro airport, then smaller aircraft bring the supplies back to Tari and offload onto helicopters to distribute.

The PNG Red Cross International on site in Tari. Image: Sylvester Gawi/Graun Blong Mi- My Land

Disaster response in PNG has been very slow and hasn’t improved from previous experiences.

Volcano displaced islanders
In February 2018, I was in Wewak when a volcanic island began releasing smoke after being dormant for more than two centuries. The Kadovar Island volcano has displaced more than 600 islanders who are now seeking refuge at a temporary care centre supported by aid agencies.

The Kadovar island volcano which erupted in January 2018. Image: Sylvester Gawi/Graun Blong Mi- My Land

Again the experiences from the Manam volcano in Madang hasn’t helped the authorities to sort out a permanent resettlement area for the displaced islanders. Slow response from the National Disaster Centre has caused greater loss for the people in the last three years.

They’ve lost their culture and they have lost their way of life on Manam island while living at the care centre at Bogia.

The National Disaster team should be the first people on ground after the disaster strikes.

They must be the first to make contact with the affected people, not turning up a week later only to find out that people died while waiting to receive treatment.

I hope the present disaster will provide an insight into issues that need to be addressed by the Papua New Guinea government to ensure the National Disaster Centre is adequately and constantly funded to serve its purpose.

Sylvester Gawi is a National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) journalist who blogs independently at Graun Blong Mi – My Land.

Challenges on the ground in PNG Highlands – what people really need

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Challenges on the ground in PNG Highlands – what people really need

By Scott Waide, EMTV journalist and blogger

Survivors in Papua New Guinea’s earthquake in the Highlands face tough challenges. And so do the relief agencies and government authorities trying to deliver support to them.

Many of the worst affected areas in Hela and the Southern Highlands provinces are in isolated spots.

The people don’t live in large villages that you see on the coast. They live in small hamlets of 5-10 houses spread out over a plateaus or valleys.

They have no road access.

Many have to walk for hours to get within line of site of a mobile telecommunications tower in order to send a text message. Data signals are too weak and problematic.

For other locations, it takes more than a day.

Some of the villages are relatively close to the LNG site. But it looks deceptively close on a map.

Difficult to reach
What you’re dealing with on the ground are terrains that are extremely difficult to reach – even within a day’s walk. That is precisely why helicopters are vital in this disaster.

In some villages, people have had to build helipads on mountainsides to allow for medical teams to land safely.

Chopper pilot Eric Aliawi, who took an EMTV crew to one of the locations, had to land on three logs that had been placed on a spot dug out on a mountain side because the helipad had not been completed.

Even after landing, the crew and the doctors had to walk for about half an hour to get to the village.

A few commentators have said that the people affected are subsistence farmers and that they still have food to eat because they plant crops.

The reality is that their gardens have been destroyed and it is dangerous for them to go into the foothills and the valleys, or mountainsides, because of the ongoing aftershocks.

Trauma of death
They are also dealing with the trauma of the death and destruction that happened in their villages. They will have to adjust to normal life as time goes by.

Their houses have been destroyed and they have moved from the locations of their hamlets to central locations like schools, airstrips and mission stations to seek help.

Congregating in large numbers in one location is unusual for them. Losing their independence and relying on someone to give them food is also not something they are accustomed to.

They need is help to get back on their feet and resume their way of life.

They need the following:
Good quality tarpaulins for shelte
r – They live in a high rainfall area. The temperature drops rapidly at night and without shelter, young children and older people will get sick.

Food – With limited access to their gardens, food is a priority for them.

Water – Their water sources have been polluted. They need large water containers, tanks and clean water (as an immediate need).

Cooking pots – This is important if they are to boil drinking water.

Warm clothes + blankets – Sweaters, hoodies and simple blankets will help a lot to ease their burden. It is not as important as the others mentioned, but it will help.

Children’s clothing – also not an immediate priority but it will help a lot.

6 to 15cm nails and tools – in order to rebuild their houses, they need nails and tools like bush knives, axes and hammers. It is very difficult to obtain items like this where they are.

Disposable delivery trays, disposable suture trays – during the earthquake, sterilisation equipment at the Tari Hospital was damaged. The doctors need this to send to aid posts so that health workers can handle deliveries and other treatment.

The government contacts are:

Thomas Eluh – PA for Southern Highlands

Joseph Bando – PA Hela Province

Dr Tana Kiak – Tari Hospital

Inbox Scott Waide on Facebook for contact details, or text him on +675 70300459. Or email for information. This article was first posted on Scott Waide’s blog, My Land, My Country.

Earthquake survivors in Hela province … what next? Image: Scott Waide/EMTV

Counting the cost of PNG’s devastating earthquake – many uncertainties

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Counting the cost of PNG’s devastating earthquake – many uncertainties

SPECIAL REPORT: Shirley Mauludu in Port Moresby reports on the earthquake which hit parts of three Highlands provinces almost two weeks ago, leaving behind a trail of destruction, injuries, loss of lives and massive damage to infrastructure. She talks to economist and Institute of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker about the challenges of recovery.

At this stage, the outcome is still uncertain after the devastation and loss of life – now more than 100 – of Papua New Guinea’s Highlands earthquake.

Obviously the biggest concern remains the human impact of the earthquake – reaching the victims and providing emergency relief.

Many households and communities have no drinking water and food gardens have been destroyed.

National Affairs executive director Paul Barker … earthquake halted or severely impacted on some of PNG’s major extractive businesses. Image: The National

There must be thorough mapping of the affected areas to ensure that no affected communities remain isolated or without support or relief where in need.

Also, all the landslides need to be checked, not only where they block roads, or have destroyed food gardens or houses, but also where they’ve blocked streams and rivers.

This could result in future floods or surge damage downstream when the dam is breached in future.

Economically, the earthquake has damaged food crops and cash crops, and local trade – the disruption to access roads, highways and bridges, and damage to stores and other businesses and infrastructure, including telecommunications towers, power plants and power lines.

Costing tens of millions of kina
Repairs will costs tens of millions of kina, with the government unfortunately only budgeting each year a fraction of what’s needed for infrastructure maintenance, let alone for emergency repairs and restoration.

From past experience, such as after Cyclone Guba in 2007, repairs of core bridges and infrastructure can take many years, although the presence of major resource companies, partially needing some of that infrastructure, and with their organisational and plant capacity, it can be expected that at least some of that infrastructure will be restored more promptly.

Although most of the businesses and households would have been uninsured against earthquake damage, the restoration process will generate some valuable local economic activity for the disaster-affected communities, in terms of jobs and business activity in the building and construction industry.

In terms of the larger economic impact, the major 7.5/6 earthquake of February 26 and the series of ensuing aftershocks and associated quakes, have halted or impacted several of the country’s largest businesses, notably in the extractive industries.

For example, Kutubu oil production (and associated fields), PNG LNG gas production, Ok Tedi Mine in Western and Porgera mine – notably its power generation and reticulation from Hides.

It is too early to say how major the impact is or how long the delay will be to production and exports from each of these major resource projects.

The respective operating companies are still in the process of their assessments of the core resources, wells and accessible reserves, surface and underground mine sites etc, processing/conditioning plants, power plants, pipelines, as well as transport and communications.

Epicentre near the Hela border
Clearly, the greatest damage was experienced nearest the epicentre to the main quake – near the Hela/Western Province border, including the major Komo airfield.

Extensive damage to staff quarters and other company facilities was sustained.

But that can be restored fairly promptly, compared with damage to costly and fundamental plant that may have been sustained.

One would expect some projects to be able to resume production and exports relatively soon, and some may have barely interrupted operations, for example with Porgera using a partial back-up power supply.

Although damage has been sustained by Ok Tedi and Porgera, they are likely to be able to resume full operations more readily after repairs.

The oil, but particularly LNG and condensate plants, and wells etc, may well require more extensive and costly repairs, potentially keeping some of these operations out of production for significantly longer.

ExxonMobil has declared force-majeure, enabling them to avoid their contractual supply contracts as a result of forces beyond their control.

Exports will halt
A few LNG initial shipments can presumably proceed from LNG stored in tanks in the facility near Port Moresby. But beyond a week or so, production and exports would presumably halt.

Papua New Guinea had about K25 billion worth of overall exports in 2016, of which around K20 billion was from minerals, oil and gas.

If K11 billion was oil and gas, and production was halted for say two months, that would comprise a loss of near K2 billion of exports.

If a major portion of mineral production was halted by one month, that could be up to another K0.5 billion of exports lost, or rather deferred.

Oil, gas and most mineral prices are largely significantly above the levels in 2016. So in 2018, the loss of exports earnings would be higher than the figures stated here.

The LNG is not currently contributing to foreign exchange receipts but the mineral and oil exports largely are. So it would significantly reduce needed forex receipts.

Although company tax revenue was well below K100 million from the mining/oil/gas sector in 2017, it was expected that this figure would have been up (to K89.5 million, still a very low figure, considering the level of exports), particularly coming from Ok Tedi and Porgera.

Cut back in tax receipts
These tax receipts would be cut back if production was significantly halted, and the companies have to reinvest heavily in major repairs and new plant.

Dividends have been received, however, from the state’s equity in PNG LNG, and oil and mining operations, which would also take a cut, if production was heavily reduced, and major expenditure incurred, which seems inevitable at this stage, all adding to
the already very tight fiscal situation the government faces this year.

With major expenditure required by the government as its contribution to restoration of infrastructure and services in the affected areas (K450 million has been committed, although it is not known the basis of this number of the source of the allocation) then that clearly adds further to the fiscal pressure.

Shirley Mauludu is a journalist with The National daily newspaper. The article has been republished under Creative Commons.

Tiny Timbulsloko fights back in face of Indonesia’s ‘ecological disaster’

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Tiny Timbulsloko fights back in face of Indonesia’s ‘ecological disaster’

Drone views of the village of Timbulsloko showing the scale of coastal erosion and sinking flatlands in an area that once used to to be rice fields on the edge of the Central Java city of Semarang. Mangroves are being rapidly re-established. Drone footage source: CoREM. Video: David Robie’s Café Pacific

By David Robie in Semarang, Indonesia

A vast coastal area of the Indonesian city of Semarang, billed nine months ago by a national newspaper as “on the brink of ecological disaster”, is fighting back with a valiant survival strategy.

Thanks to a Dutch mangrove restoration programme and flexible bamboo-and-timber “eco” seawalls, some 70,000 people at risk in the city of nearly two million have some slim hope for the future.

An area that was mostly rice fields and villages on the edge of the old city barely two decades ago has now become “aquatic” zones as flooding high tides encroach on homes.

Onetime farmers have been forced to become fishermen.

Villagers living in Bedono, Sriwulan, Surodadi and Timbulsloko in Demak regency and urban communities in low-lying parts of the city are most at risk.


Residents have been forced to raise their houses or build protective seawalls or be forced to abandon their homes when their floors become awash.

The lowland subsidence area in north Semarang leading to the volcanic Mt Urganan and Mt Muria/Medak.  Source: CoRem (UNDIP), 2017.

Environmental changes in Semarang have been blamed by scientists on anthropogenic and “natural” factors such as tidal and river flooding – known locally as rob, mangroves destruction since the 1990s, fast urban growth and extensive groundwater extraction.

Climate change
This has been compounded by climate change with frequent and extreme storms.

It has been a pattern familiar in many other low-lying coastal areas in Indonesia, such as the capital Jakarta and second-largest city Surabaya.

The Jakarta Post headline on 2 February 2017. Image: PMC

In February, The Jakarta Post reported that both Jakarta and Semarang faced environmental crises.

Citing Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) researcher Henny Warsilah, a graduate of Paris I-Sorbonne University in France, who measured the resilience of three coastal cities – Jakarta, Semarang and Surabaya – the Post noted only Surabaya had built sufficient environmental and social resilience to face natural disasters.

Jakarta and Semarang, Warsilah said, “were not doing very well”. Although Surabaya was faring much better with its urban policies.

The National Geographic Indonesia banner headline in October 2017. Image: PMC

The fate of some five million people living in Indonesia’s at risk coastal areas – including Semarang — was also profiled in the Indonesian edition of National Geographic magazine last month under the banner headline “Takdir Sang Pesisis” – “The destiny of the coast”.

The introduction asked: “”The disappearance of the mangrove belt now haunts seaside residents. How can they respond to a disaster that is imminent?”

Ongoing reclamation
According to The Jakarta Post, Semarang “has ongoing reclamation projects in the northern part of the city, which threaten to submerge entire neighbourhoods in the next 20 years”.

Urban erosion and land subsidence in Semarang city. Note the raised house second from left, the other sinking dwellings on either side have been abandoned to the tidal waters. Image: David Robie/PMC

“The more [the city] is expanded, the more land will subside because the region is a former volcanic eruption zone, and it is a swamp area,” says Warsilah.

“With the progression of the reclamation projects, the land is not strong enough to withstand the pressure.”

With a team of international geologists and researchers attached to Semarang’s Center for Disaster Mitigation and Coastal Rehabilitation Studies (CoREM) at Diponegoro University, I had the opportunity to visit Timbulsloko village earlier this month to see the growing “crisis” first hand.

City planners might see the only option as the residents being forced to leave for higher ground, but there appear to be no plans in place for this. In any case, local people defiantly say they want to stay and will adapt to the sinking conditions.

An unnamed local shopkeeper who has three generations of her family living in her Timbulsloko home and she doesn’t want to leave in spite of the sea encroaching in her house. Image: David Robie/PMC

One woman, a local shopkeeper, who has a three-generations household in the village with water encroaching into her home at most high tides, says she won’t leave with a broad smile.

I talked to her through an interpreter as she sat with her mother and youngest daughter on a roadside bamboo shelter.

“I have lived here for a long time, and I am very happy with the situation. My husband has his work here as a fisherman,” she said.

A local storekeeper with her mother and youngest daughter – three generations live in her Timbulsloko village home. Video: David Robie’s Café Pacific.

‘We don’t want to leave’
“We live with the flooding and we don’t want to leave.”

A raised house at low tide in Timbulsloko. Image: David Robie/PMC

She also said there was no clear viable alternative for the people of the village – there was no plan by the local authorities for relocation.

Later, she showed me inside her house and how far the water flooded across the floors. Electrical items, such as a television, had to be placed on raised furniture. The children slept on high beds, and the adults clambered onto cupboards to get some rest.

The village has a school, community centre, a mosque and a church – most of these with a sufficiently high foundation to be above the seawater.

However, the salination means that crops and vegetables cannot grow.

The community cemetery is also awash at high tide and there have been reports of eroded graves and sometimes floating bodies to the distress of families.

Timbulsloko’s village cemetery. Video: David Robie’s Café Pacific

We were warned “don’t touch anything with your hands” as the flooding also causes a health hazard.

Research projects
The situation has attracted a number of research projects in an effort to find solutions to some of the problems, the latest being part of the 2017 World Class Professor (WCP) programme funded by the Indonesian government.

Two of the six professors on the University of Gadjah Mada’s WCP programme, in partnership with Diponegoro University, are working with local researchers at CoREM.

WCP programme professors Dr David Menier (centre) and Dr Magaly Koch (right) talk to CoREM director Dr Muhammad Helmi on the Timbulsloko village wharf, near Semarang. Image: David Robie/PMC

They are geologists Dr Magaly Koch, from the Centre for Remote Sensing at Boston University, US, and Dr David Menier, associate professor HDR at Université de Bretage-Sud, France, who are partnered with Dr Muhammad Helmi, also a geologist and director of CoREM, and Dr Manoj Mathew. Both Dr Mathew and Dr Menier are of LGO Laboratoire Géosciences Océan.

The stages of flooding in the Semarang study area. Source: Ramkumar & Menier (2017)

“At the regional scale, the rate of subsidence is related to the geological and geomorphological context. North Java is a coastal plain that is very flat, silty to muddy, influenced by offshore controlling factors (e.g., wave, longshore drifts, tidal currents, etc.) and monsoons, and surrounded by volcanoes,” explains Dr Menier.

Controlling factors along the Semarang coastline. Source: CoRem, (UNDIP)

“Locally, anthropogenic factors can play a serious role as well.”

He says that coastal plains are dynamic. However, human activities are fixed – “the first contradiction”.

“Humans want to control and continue their livelihood, and are reluctant to accept changes related to their own activities or natural factors.”

Dr Menier says the subsidence is due to many factors, but some key issues have never been studied.

On a long term scale, the active faults of the area need to be examined in a geodynamic context and also volcanic activity with Mt Urganan and Mt Muria/Medak.

“We need to have a better understanding of the age of the coastal plain in order to reconstruct the past, explain the present-day and predict the future,” he says.

“Colonisation in the 17th century-Dutch period probably led to destruction of ecosystems (mangrove) and fine sediment usually trapped by plants has been stopped.”

Dr Koch adds: “Subsidence rates and their spatial distribution along the coastal plain need to be studied in detail using InSAR techniques. Groundwater abstraction (using deep wells) is probably happening in the city of Semarang but not necessarily in Demak.”

Expanding mangroves protection at Timbulsloko, Demak regency. Image: David Robie/PMC

Mangrove restoration
Mangrove restoration and mitigation has been used successfully to restore coastal resilience and ecosystems in Timbulsloko.

While noting that “high failure rates are typical” due to wrong special being planted and other factors, Dr Dolfi Debrot, of a Dutch project consortium, argues “given the right conditions, mangrove recovery actually works best without planting at all.”

The consortium involves Witteveen+Bos, Deltares, EcoShape, Wetlands International, Wageningen University and IMARES.

However, community planting is also a strategy deployed in the lowland villages.

Mangroves revitalise aquaculture ponds for crab and shrimp farming.

A “growing land” technique borrowed from the muddy Wadden Sea in the Netherlands has also been used successfully at Timbulsloko and other villages.

Semi-permeable dams are built from bamboo or wooden poles packed with branches to “dampen wave action”. In time, a build up of sediment settles and allows mangroves to grow naturally.

CoREM director Dr Muhammad Helmi … praises the contribution of flexible “eco” seawalls. Image: David Robie/PMC

“These eco-engineering seawalls are better than the concrete fixed barriers,” says Dr Helmi. “The permanent seawalls in turn become eroded at their base and eventually fall over.”

Dr David Robie is on the WCP programme with Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta.

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