Editor’s note: In the early morning hours of Saturday, May 27, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck about 15 miles offshore Indonesia’s Yogyakarta region of Central Java, resulting in over 5,700 deaths with more than 36,000 people injured and 600,000 homeless.
The region most seriously affected by the earthquake lies on the Bantul plain that lies south of the city of Yogyakarta, where the Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) is located.
AAPG student chapters, coordinated by the student chapter at UGM, have been very active in assisting earthquake victims. With 55,000 students, UGM is one of Indonesia’s largest and the UGM chapter has been active since 2000. They mobilized relief activities the day following the earthquake.
This report is by Julianta Panjaitan, AAPG student chapter president, written nine days after the devastating earthquake.
The AAPG student chapters, coordinated by the student chapter of UGM, have done as much as possible within its capacity to help the earthquake victims since the day following the earthquake.
Damage Survey and Victims Evacuation
Since the day after the earthquake, the UGM chapter, assisted by volunteers from other AAPG student chapters in Indonesia, have been surveying the locations that were damaged or destroyed, and sent student chapter volunteers to the damage area for distribution of emergency supplies and assist the victims, including evacuation.
Coordination posts were established at Pundong, Bantul and at the geological field campus in Bayat area, Klaten.
Cause of the Earthquake
The geology students and the members of UGM student chapter also were entrusted by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences to research the cause of the earthquake.
We conducted measurement of fracture orientation and collected data to build the Rose Diagram.
The students supplied information to the public about the phenomenon of earthquakes for broadcast by Radio Sonora of Yogyakarta and students provided site lectures.
We also shared information through posters and leaflets about earthquake anticipation.
Hundreds of rice sacks and
other necessary support items
were organized and prepared
for distribution by AAPG student
chapter volunteers for the
Java temblor victims.
Emergency Aid Collection, Distribution
Within one day after the earthquake the AAPG student chapter members launched an initiative to ask support for collecting emergency supplies to help the victims, broadcasting a request for support via their yahoogroups e-mail system. This initiative gained the support of BP Indonesia’s employee organization, members and former members of the UGM AAPG student chapter and other Indonesian AAPG student chapters.
The student chapter also has shared its treasury funds and collected donations from other sources.
UGM student Julianta Panjaitan
(pointing to map) provided information
to a BP team doctor on the earthquake’s
Through cooperation with Geological Engineering Student Association from the UGM faculty of engineering, this initiative gained further support and funds from Schlumberger, PT Aneka Tambang, Tbk., and PT Newmont.
Equally important, this initiative also has received donation support from our UGM professors, students and the corps of alumni of the school’s geological engineering department.
Instead of giving direct cash payments, funds were used to procure fundamental needs that support life, such as rice, instant noodles, canned foods, sugar, cooking oil plus other emergency logistical supplies such as blankets, tents, sleeping mattresses, clothes and underwear, etc. The UGM Student Chapter formed a command post on campus with a coordinating team to support the organization of the procurement and distribution of these items for the needing quake victims.
The chapter is thankful for the support given by other student volunteers. For example, the AAPG student chapter of the Universitas Brawijaya sent 11 members, while the AAPG student chapter of the Institute Technology Surabaya provided two members to the relief volunteers.
Dharmawan Samsu, of BP and the oversight committee adviser of the Indonesian AAPG student chapters, also helped the students with donation audit process and gave support to the student members.
Final examinations forced a break in students’ relief activities. We will resume our activity after the exams toward the full recovery of Yogyakarta and the surrounding areas.