Earthquake victims stage demonstration after Cianjur Regency Govt cancels temporary housing assistance of US$68 per family

Earthquake victims stage demonstration after Cianjur Regency Govt cancels temporary housing assistance of US$68 per family

CIANJUR, INDONESIA — The Cianjur Regency Government cancelled the plan to provide temporary housing assistance (Huntara) worth US$68 per family or a total of US$940,000 for residents affected by the Cianjur earthquake. In addition, the shelter waiting fund of US$34 per month allocated by the central government is also likely to be cancelled.

On 21 November 2022, at 1.21 pm, a 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck near Cianjur in West Java, Indonesia. 635 people died, and 7,729 were injured. More than 62,628 homes were damaged across 16 districts in Cianjur Regency and the surrounding region.

The spokesperson for the Cianjur Regency Earthquake Disaster Management Team, Budi Rahayu Toyib, said that the local government of the Cianjur Regency had initially allocated US$940,000 from donations for the construction of 14 thousand shelters.

However, according to Budi, it turns out that the assistance overlaps with the central government’s policy that will provide assistance of US$34 per family for the shelter waiting funds.

According to Budi, the funds will be included in the Regional General Cash Account (RKUD) and allocated in Unexpected Expenditure (BTT).

“It will not be given for the shelters. The funds are put into the RKUD for other needs, especially now that the regent plans to fulfil the basic needs of the refugees during Ramadan and Eid. So the funds will be used for the public kitchen,” he said.

Meanwhile, the US$34 per family fund is the authority of the National Disaster Management Agency; however, there has been no disbursement because the funds have not been sent by the centre to the local government.

“Information from BPBD Cianjur Regency has not yet been disbursed for the sum of US$34. Because only a portion of the funds was sent. If it is distributed directly, it would be unfair to those who have not received it, since they have the same rights. So it was postponed first. Even if it is not being used, it will be returned to the central government,” he said.

In addition, Budi continued, assistance for house repairs has also been distributed, so some residents have started repairing and building damaged houses so that they can live in their houses again as soon as possible.

On 25 January, earthquake victims staged a demonstration in front of the regent’s office. They demanded the Cianjur Regent be transparent in the management of the earthquake budget, starting from funds sourced from the Unexpected Expenditure budget (BTT) and donations that are still unclear.

Local media later reported that two officials in the Cianjur Regency Government had resigned. The two officials who resigned were the Head of the Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) Fatah Rizal and the Head of the Cianjur District Civil Service Police and Fire Department Hendri Prasetyadi.

The resignation of these two officials was allegedly due to them being considered not optimal in handling the aftermath of the Cianjur earthquake. However, both refused to give reasons for their resignation to the media.

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