Indonesia suffered two major earthquakes in 2018. The first hit the islands of Lombok and Bali in August and the second struck Central Sulawesi in September along with a tsunami. In both instances there was a major loss of life, many more injuries and thousands of people were left without shelter and basic necessities. As part of the disaster response Hytera donated vital communications equipment to Palang Merah Indonesia (PMI), the Indonesian Red Cross, while other aid organisations such as Basarnas deployed equipment previously supplied by Hytera.
Palang Merah Indonesia (the Indonesian Red Cross)
PD488 hand portable radio
MD788 mobile radio
On 5 August 2018, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck Lombok at around 6.45pm with the epicentre located near the village of Loloan in the northern part of the island. The shockwaves badly affected the neighbouring island of Bali and were also felt on Sumbawa island.
A second 6.9 magnitude earthquake occured on 19 August. Following both earthquakes, a total of 565 people were confirmed to have died, while more than 1,000 were injured and over 417,000 people were displaced from their homes. Over 80% of the buildings in northern Lombok were either damaged or destroyed.
On 28 September 2018, an even larger 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the Minahasa Peninsula on the island of Sulawesi with its epicentre located in the mountainous Donggala region of Central Sulawesi. The quake triggered a localised tsunami, which struck the provincial capital of Palu, 77 km from the epicentre, as well as the settlements of Donggala and Mamuju. Major soil liquefaction occurred in the Palu area leading to large mudflows, which covered many buildings.
According to the National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB), the death toll in Sulawesi was eventually put at 2,256 people with over 10,000 injured, 4,488 of them seriously, while 1,075 people were reported missing. More than 70,000 buildings were damaged and one month after the quake some 206,524 people had been displaced and become refugees.
The immediate task facing disaster relief organisations in the aftermath of the Lombok earthquake was to conduct search and rescue operations and to meet the basic needs of the survivors for medical care, clean drinking water, food and shelter. The rescue mission was made particular challenging as much of the basic infrastructure including roads, bridges, power and communications had been hit by the earthquake.
Reliable communications were badly needed to coordinate the search and rescue mission and to enable the evacuation of the injured and displaced to be carried out efficiently. Good communications were also required to ensure the different rescue organisations could collaborate effectively and carry out their activities as seamlessly as possible.
Hytera immediately offered two-way radios to Palang Merah Indonesia (PMI), the Indonesian Red Cross, after both the Lombok and Sulawesi earthquakes. At the same time, Hytera’s CSR team in Shenzhen, China, got in touch with Blue Sky Rescue Malaysia, a local disaster relief and humanitarian assistance specialist organisation, and the East Asia branch of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to offer whatever help they could provide.
Hytera quickly recognised the scale of the humanitarian need caused by the earthquake and saw how urgent the requirement for temporary communications networks would be. So, on the morning of 6 August, the day after the Lombok earthquake, Hytera’s Indonesian subsidiary in Jakarta put together a seven-member emergency response team. The Hytera team immediately contacted PMI, whose staff and volunteers were already in place providing medical assistance to the survivors and helping to evacuate people from coastal areas.
The Hytera team quickly established that PMI was in need of mobile communications support. Hytera engineers held a meeting with PMI technicians on the morning of 7 August to establish the details of the communication solution and to work out what possible scenarios it could be used for.
By 3pm the same afternoon, Hytera handed over DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) hand portable radios, one DMR mobile radio and one DMR repeater to PMI in Jakarta for use by its emergency response team on the ground in Lombok and Bali.
In the case of the Sulawesi earthquake, Hytera again responded swiftly to the disaster and using the links already established with PMI following the Lombok earthquake, again offered assistance in providing fast deployable critical communications solutions. Hytera delivered DMR PD488 hand portable radios, three DMR MD788 mobile radios and three DMR RD988 repeaters to PMI to aid the disaster relief response to the Sulawesi earthquake.
The Hytera DMR radio communications equipment was gratefully received by the aid agencies and proved its worth in the field. One of the great advantages of Hytera’s innovative emergency communication solutions is that they can be deployed in a very short time to deliver much needed critical communications in emergency situations. The rugged and robust Hytera handsets are perfectly suited for use in harsh environments such as post-earthquake conditions.
Jerry Gao, Country Manager of PT. Hytera Communications Indonesia, expressed his sympathy for the affected communities. “Our company has run a business in Indonesia for more than ten years and we have lots of clients, partners and a team of local colleagues here. We live on the same land and breathe the same air, so we feel the pain of people’s losses. It’s our obligation to serve local communities with our expertise. We hope the affected areas can recover soon.”
Hytera, a leading global provider of innovative Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) communications solutions, fully intends to continue fulfilling its social responsibilities by leveraging its cutting-edge technology and product portfolio to support rescue and relief operations around the world and to help with reconstruction programmes.
——Sunarbowo Sandi, Head of the PMI Headquarters in Jakarta
——--Gwendolyn Pang, Head of East Asia, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
——--Ria Thahir, Head of Resource Mobilisation and Partnership Division, PMI