UNSYIAH’s Responses to 6.5 Mw Earthquake in Pidie Jaya on December 7, 2016

A 6.5 Mw earthquake with the epicenter was estimated at 5.281o N and 956.108o E (around Pidie Jaya District of Aceh) with the focal depth around 8.7 km (USGS) occurred on December 7, 2016 at 5.03 am Local Time. This is considered a very shallow earthquake that mostly to create massive damages on structures around the earthquake source. Based on this condition, Syiah Kuala Univesity (UNSYIAH) dispatched a  group of researchers to the location just two hours after the earthquake. Among the groups were Tsunami and Disaster Mitigation Research Center (TDMRC) of Syiah Kuala University, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, and Faculty of Medicine. The team from TDMRC was directly led by Dr. Khairul Munadi, Head of TDMRC. Other researchers who joined this group were Dr. Irwandi (Seismologist), Dr. Yunita Idris (Structural Engineering researcher), Dr. Ella Meilianda (Coordinator of Hydro-Meteorological Cluster), Dr. Syamsidik ( Coordinator of Tsunami Research Cluster), Dr. Agus (Human Security), Ibnu Rusydy (Geophysist), and Musa Al’ala (Research Asisstant). Dean of Faculty of Engineering and Dean of Faculty of Agriculture were also among the first persons to assess the area.

The first team from UNSYIAH arrived at the location around 1.00 PM, which was about 6 hours after the earthquake. The team managed to observe the immediate impacts of the disaster on the area. Collapsed buildings were spread all over area of Pidie Jaya. Some of the collapsed buildings were located in Pidie and Bireuen. In brief, the three districts are classified as the affected areas due to the earthquake. Evacuation processes for survivors were done by Indonesian Army (TNI) and Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS). Aceh Disaster Management Agency (BPBA) and District Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) from Pidie Jaya, Banda Aceh, Aceh Besar, and Bireuen were seen to coordinate in the field. Rescue of survivors was fast and relatively well coordinated. The experiences from previous disasters in this area are seemed to bring positive changes in term of responses.

The most challenging evacuation process was done in Meureudu shopping complex where about 30 people died under the collapsed structures of the shop lots. Figure 1 shows the evacuation process done by TNI and BASARNAS.

Figure 1. Indonesian Army (TNI), Police Department, and BASARNAS were trying to remove tonnes of concrete from a collapsed shopping complex in Meureudu.
Figure 1. Indonesian Army (TNI), Police Department, and BASARNAS were trying to remove tonnes of concrete from a collapsed shopping complex in Meureudu.

UNSYIAH teams attempted to collect knowledge evidences as many as possible in order  to provide a better understanding to disaster’s impacts and future disaster risk reduction. On December 7, 2016,  Rector of Syiah Kuala University ordered to establish an Emergency Post at the location. The aim of the this post are to coordinate supports from Syiah Kuala University for the people in the affected area, to coordinate post-disaster assessment done by researchers from Syiah Kuala University and from other universities, to support the local government during response period and during rehabilitation and reconstruction process. Figures 2-4 show activities at the temporary Emergency Post of Syiah Kuala University in Meureudu, Pidie Jaya.

Figure 2. Students, volunteers, and TDMRC researchers in front of Syiah Kuala Emergency Post in Meureudu, Pidie Jaya District.
Figure 2. Students, volunteers, and TDMRC researchers in front of Syiah Kuala Emergency Post in Meureudu, Pidie Jaya District.
Figure 3. Vice Rector of Syiah Kuala University and Head of TDMRC were in a discussion in Temporary Syiah Kuala Emergency Responses Post.
Figure 3. Vice Rector of Syiah Kuala University and Head of TDMRC were in a discussion in Temporary Syiah Kuala Emergency Responses Post.
Figure 4. Some logistics are ready to be distributed to the earthquake survivors.
Figure 4. Some logistics are ready to be distributed to the earthquake survivors.

Rector of Syiah Kuala University (through  Vice Rector for External Affairs) give a mandate to Dr. Khairul Munadi to be the coordinator of the post.

During the first three days, the Emergency Post of Syiah Kuala University received a large number of donations in cash and foods for survivors and refugees. The post distributed the donations to refugee camps spread in Pidie Jaya and Pidie. The distribution process was helped by volunteers who mostly are students at Syiah Kuala University. Students from Disaster Science Master Program from Syiah Kuala University also have opportunity to practice what they have learned in classes, such as emergency logistic, mapping the impacts, and capturing knowledge during the disaster.  Figure 5 shows the briefing with the master students in the Syiah Kuala Emergency Post in Meureudu, Pidie Jaya.

Figure 5. Students from Disaster Science Master Program of Syiah Kuala University had a number of field works in Pidie Jaya.
Figure 5. Students from Disaster Science Master Program of Syiah Kuala University had a number of field works in Pidie Jaya.

In order to manage assessment of the impacts of the earthquake, Unsyiah (TDMRC) divided its team into four groups, i.e. a Group for Seismic Assessment, a group for Structural damages assessment, and a group for human security assessment, and  a group for knowledge management process.  Seismic Assessment group is led by Dr. Muksin Umar, Structural damages is led by Dr. Yunita Idris, Human Security Assessment is led by dr. Ichsan Setiawan, and Knowledge Management Process is led by Dr. Syamsidik. All of the groups have been in the field since Day-1 of after the earthquake.

Figures 6-8 show the activity of the researchers in the affected area.

Figure 6. Dr. Irwandi reported his team preliminary findings to the Coordinator of Syiah Kuala Emergency Response Post (Dr. Khairul Munadi/Head of TDMRC).
Figure 6. Dr. Irwandi reported his team preliminary findings to the Coordinator of Syiah Kuala Emergency Response Post (Dr. Khairul Munadi/Head of TDMRC).
Figure 7. Dr. Irwandi was trying to locate the epicenter location of the earthquake.
Figure 7. Dr. Irwandi was trying to locate the epicenter location of the earthquake.
Figure 8. Dr. Yunita Idris and Dr. Irwandi were investigating the earthquake impacts on one mosque in Pidie Jaya.
Figure 8. Dr. Yunita Idris and Dr. Irwandi were investigating the earthquake impacts on one mosque in Pidie Jaya.

Source: http://tdmrc.unsyiah.ac.id/unsyiahs-responses-to-6-5-mw-earthquake-in-pidie-jaya-on-december-7-2016/