Indonesian government and partners starts to collect quake displacement data

News Hour:

At the request of the Indonesian government, IOM today deployed 16 personnel to Aceh province to begin tracking and monitoring the locations and needs of almost 84,000 people displaced by last week’s powerful earthquake.

After a day’s training in the provincial capital Banda Aceh, five teams of IOM staff joined by Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) personnel will fan out Wednesday morning to collect data from 124 temporary settlement locations in two earthquake-affected districts.

The teams will feed information into the organization’s displacement tracking matrix (DTM), which can systematically capture, process and disseminate information about the anticipated movement patterns and needs of displaced populations like those in Aceh.

“We support IOM conducting this DTM together with our staff from the directorate for the management of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Aceh as it will be an excellent opportunity for them to learn how to conduct this kind of assessment,” said the agency’s director of IDP management, Taufik Kartiko.

“We expect the best practices gained from the DTM to be contextualized to Indonesian circumstances and implemented in BNPB’s displaced persons information management systems in the future.”

The 7 December earthquake killed 101 people, injured more than 850 others, and damaged 11,668 homes as well as government offices, schools and mosques. Dozens of aftershocks have fuelled the fears of some local residents who continue to live in temporary tent and tarpaulin resettlement areas or in local mosques rather than returning home.

“The reported number of displaced people has almost doubled in the past three days and the DTM will be able to provide a much more accurate picture of who has been displaced and what exactly their needs are,” IOM Chief of Mission Mark Getchell said today from one such settlement in Meureudu, Pidie Jaya regency, where an estimated 2,500 people are now living.

“For example, the people I’ve met this morning say one of the big challenges they face is that their well water is now muddy and undrinkable. Some are ready to return home once the debris and rubble have been removed, but if there’s nothing to drink they’re unlikely to stay. This kind of valuable information from all the locations will help the government to plan and prioritize its response,” he added.

Developed in 2004 in Iraq to assist in assessments of internally displaced people, the DTM has been refined and enhanced over years of field use in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and can be tailored to countries in both conflict and natural disaster settings. It is used to collect data on a broad range of humanitarian issues, from water and sanitation, health, food, protection and trusted information sources.

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