Jakarta: The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) confirmed that it will shortly dispatch a team to help in handling the impacts of the earthquake that hit South Nias District, North Sumatra, on Monday morning.
"The BNPB will immediately send a team there to get an exact picture of the impacts of this earthquake," BNPB Head Lieutenant General Suharyanto noted in an online press conference here on Monday.
"Our first priority is the safety of the community," he stressed.
Suharyanto explained that the BNPB will record earthquake victims and infrastructure damage as well as work along with the local government to handle the impacts.
"We ensure that the state and central governments will be present as soon as possible and ensure that the basic needs of the affected communities can be fulfilled," he emphasized.
Suharyanto also urged residents to not panic during the earthquake. Instead, he stressed the importance of evacuating independently in case an earthquake struck.
"This is because based on earlier earthquake experiences, the occurrence of victims was not (directly) because of the earthquake but due to buildings that had collapsed on the persons conducting activities inside (those structures)," he stated.
Furthermore, he emphasized the need for residents to ready personal supplies in the form of food, medicines, communication devices, and other safety equipment that can be used whenever a disaster struck.
According to Suharyanto, community groups can appoint a person, who is trusted to lead evacuations to places that are considered safe in the event of a disaster.
On Monday, the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) announced a shallow earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.7, that shook South Nias, North Sumatra, at around 4:09 a.m. local time due to plate subduction.
Suharyanto also called on the local government, Indonesian Military (TNI), and National Police to prepare a contingency plan after the 6.7-magnitude earthquake hit the region.