Despite their best intentions, an overabundance of aid workers could cause confusion and “hamper rescue and recovery efforts.”
NGO’s are being turned away in the wake of Sulawesi's recent series of natural disasters after a statement from Indonesia’s disaster agency said water treatments and tents would be more helpful.
According to the Foreign Ministry, despite their best intentions, an overabundance of aid workers could cause confusion and “hamper rescue and recovery efforts.”
"We do not want to end up in a situation where we are receiving assistance, where there are already adequate supply or capacity on the ground, while we are not receiving assistance that we really need or lack of capacity on the ground," said Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir.
The death toll from September’s earthquake and tsunami has risen to 2,045 with another 10,000 people injured, according to disaster response officials. Another 5,000 people are believed to be buried around the coastal city of Palu, however authorities retired the search for missing persons Thursday after expressing concerns about the spread of disease.
Indonesian officials insist that international organizations who are unaffiliated with national aid crews or companies should immediately “retrieve their personnel” from the disaster zone. Authorities are vetting all foreign personnel which, officials say, could take several days.
"All assistance including foreign volunteers should only enter after coordination and approval has been given, so their purpose, role, and function are clear. It is important that recovery efforts are well coordinated," Nasir said.
The decision extends to the remaining international journalists who have been instructed to apply for a journalist visa, said Agency Spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.
Affiliates of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) were exempt from the recent announcement.
IFRC representative, Iris van Deinse, said, “We are reaching more and more people every day and are expanding the mobile clinic services to meet the growing demand. More than 2,620 people have received treatment so far, not counting the many survivors who received first aid in the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes and tsunami.”
The 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck off the central island of Sulawesi on September 28, causing a tsunami with waves that rose as high as six meters in some areas. A week later, two volcanoes erupted within minutes of each other.
Some 67,000 Palu homes have been destroyed or damaged leaving over 80,000 people displaced or living in temporary shelters, Nugroho said. In a recent briefing, the spokesman said that the next phase of reconstruction and rehabilitation will begin next month.