President Jokowi vows to rebuild Aceh after earthquake

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has pledged to rebuild three districts in the Sumatran province of Aceh that were affected by the 6.5 magnitude quake that struck early on Wednesday morning (Dec. 7).

"This is a test from God. Let us face it patiently, strongly, and submit to God. God willing, we will find a solution to the challenge," he said after conducting Friday prayers at the Samalanga grand mosque during a visit to Bireun to inspect the impact of the quake.

President Jokowi, as he is also called, stated the central government would strive to quickly rebuild buildings that were damaged by the quake, so people could immediately return to their normal activities.

"The central government will immediately rebuild, especially public facilities, mosques, Islamic boarding schools, and public schools," he stressed.

He noted that the government would also provide aid to people whose houses had been damaged by the quake.

"People will be given aid. It is not much, but it is hoped it will give them the motivation to rebuild their homes, so that people in the three districts can return to normal life soon," he remarked.

A number of officials, including cabinet ministers, flanked the president during the inspection, such as Health Minister Nila Moeloek, Housing and Public Works Minister Basuki Hadimuljono, Education Minister Muhadjir Effendy, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi and Head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency Willem Rampangilei.

President Jokowi arrived in Banda Aceh, the capital of Naggroe Aceh Darussalam Province, at around 5.30 p.m. on Thursday and proceeded immediately to visit the wounded victims of the earthquake that hit Pidie Jaya District recently.

President Jokowi spent the night in Banda Aceh before visiting Pidie Jaya.

A total of 103 deaths have been confirmed in the aftermath of the strong earthquake that rocked several districts in Aceh Province.

Some eight thousand inhabitants meanwhile were seriously or slightly injured in the disaster, acting Governor of Aceh Soedarmo said here, Thursday, while accompanying Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo.

"All victims who are seriously or slightly injured have been treated by medical workers in hospitals or at emergency response command posts," he stated.

The National Meteorological, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency reported that the 6.5-magnitude earthquake that rocked several districts in Aceh Province was triggered by a strike-slip fault movement.

The earthquake, which destroyed several houses, school buildings, and places of worship, occurred at 5:03 a.m. local time on Wednesday, with its epicenter at 5.19 degrees northern latitude and 96.36 degrees eastern longitude, at a depth of 10 kilometers on land, some 18 km northeast of Pidie Jaya.

Source: Philippines News Agency