Antara & Nur Yasmin, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has ordered the Social Affairs Ministry, the Army and the National Police to help victims of Thursday's Ambon earthquake as the death tally rose to 23.
"On behalf of the government, I convey my deepest condolences to the victims of the earthquake that hit Ambon yesterday. According to the data I received from the head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency [BNPB] Gen. Doni Monardo, the earthquake has killed 23 people, injured hundreds and thousands of people have been evacuated," the president said in Jakarta on Friday.
Maluku Governor Murad Ismail confirmed the earthquake that hit Ambon on Thursday had claimed the lives of 23 people by 9 a.m. on Friday.
The governor said aid is currently being concentrated on providing medical assistance to the injured. All hospital expenses are covered by the Maluku government.
"All hospital expenses are the government's responsibility. If there are doctors or medical staff who demand payment, report it to me and I will take action," Murad said in Ambon on Friday.
Until the end of Thursday, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency had recorded 59 more earthquakes with various magnitudes, after two major earthquakes – measured at 6.5 and 5.6 magnitudes – hit Ambon on Thursday morning.
The earthquakes destroyed 171 houses, public facilities, religious houses and several buildings at the Pattimura University and the Ambon Islamic State Institution.
BNPB spokesman Agus Wibowo said around 15,000 people have been evacuated because their homes have been destroyed.
The agency said they need at least 15,000 sleeping mats, 20 tents, 20,000 blankets, 20,000 packed meals, 120 kilograms of baby food, medicines, water and instant noodles for the evacuees.