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Monday, September 17, 2007

Regional government leaders should not joint evacuation, Yudhoyono says

Bengkulu (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered regional government leaders not to leave their tasks behind and join evacuation when a national disaster hit their areas.

"Leaders must have the sense of willing to sacrifice for their people in handling a natural disaster though it is something difficult to face," the president said when observing the center of Bengkulu Natural Disaster Mitigation Task Force (Satkolak PBA) here on Monday.

President Yudhoyono, who was accompanied by Chief Minister for People`s Welfare Aburizal Bakri, Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari and Indonesian Defense Forces Commander Djoko Suyanto, symbolically handed over relief aid to Bengkulu Governor Agusrin Maryono Najamudin.

He said that he could not accept if regional leaders were also `evacuated` when there were emergency situations such as the ones befalling the provinces of Bengkulu, West Sumatra and other regions.

The president said the disaster impacts would be difficult to be managed well and maximally if the leaders left their tasks behind.

"I will not blame them if they evacuate because there are aftershocks or tsunami but they can still issue instructions from their evacuation places so that the people would not lose control," he said.

A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 rocked Indonesia`s Bengkulu province at 6.10 p.m. on Wednesday, claiming the lives of 14 people and injuring 23 others.

The president said that in an emergency situation a leader must be ready to stay awake all the time if needed. "If a leader does not carry out his or her tasks well it could be ascertained that the job would not be settled effectively," he added.

On the occasion, the president also asked regional governments not to provide misleading information from irrelevant agencies aside from, for example, the Geophysics and Meteorology Agency.

He also made the same appeal to the media publications, electronic or print, advising them they quote news from official sources.

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