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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Yogyakarta Earthquake destroyed more houses than the tsunami

ABC Online

ABC Online

AM - Yogyakarta earthquake one of the worst, says World Bank

[This is the print version of story]

AM - Tuesday, 13 June , 2006  08:28:00

Reporter: Geoff Thompson

TONY EASTLEY: Last month's earthquake in central Java is now calculated to have destroyed more houses than the tsunami did in Aceh in 2004.

While fewer lives were lost, the total damage bill from the Yogyakarta event is more than $4 billion.

The World Bank now calls the quake one of the world's worst natural disasters of the last 10 years.

Indonesia Correspondent Geoff Thompson reports from Jakarta.

GEOFF THOMPSON: 5,800 people were killed and 50,000 were injured when the early morning quake struck Yogyakarta late last month - far fewer than the hundreds of thousands killed by Indonesia's Tsunami and Pakistan's recent earthquake.

But two factors combined to make Yogyakarta's tragedy one of the costliest earthquakes ever - poorly constructed housing was densely packed into one of the world's most populated rural regions.

Figures to be released tomorrow by Bappenas, Indonesia's National Development Planning Agency, will show just how costly that damage has been.

Suprayogo Hadi from Bappenas says that the new damage figures double the earlier estimates.

SUPRAYOGO HADI: We've been trying actually to try to compare around six different disasters in Asia for the last couple of years, and we can see that maybe this is quite unique in Yogya and central Java.

GEOFF THOMPSON: If you compare buildings, this is the worst in Asia in recent years, is that right?

SUPRAYOGO HADI: We can somewhat say like that, yes.

GEOFF THOMPSON: The tsunami wiped out about 150,000 houses in Aceh but, in central Java, 358,000 houses were damaged by last month's earthquake. Of those, 191,000 were completely or partly destroyed.

Andrew Steer is the Country Director for the World Bank in Indonesia. Returning from Yogyakarta last night, he said that international support for reconstruction is vital.

ANDREW STEER: Even today, I mean, I've just come back this hour, actually, from Yogyakarta, you can be driving along the road, then actually the damage is modest. It's only when you leave the roads and go into the real villages that you see sort of total devastation. It's really very sad indeed.

And so there's going to be a truly major reconstruction program ahead, whereby something like 170,000 houses will have to be built totally from scratch.

GEOFF THOMPSON: To date, Australia has committed $7.5 million to assisting quake victims.

In Jakarta, this is Geoff Thompson for AM.

© 2006 Australian Broadcasting Corporation
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