ACEH – What's on Aceh Tourism? The World's Best Halal Tourism Award 2016 announcement from Abu Dhabi at 21.30 Indonesia Western Time on 7 December 2016 has brought more optimism. Aceh receives two awards for World's Best Airport for Halal Travellers 2016 - Sultan Iskandar Muda, International Airport and for World's Best Halal Cultural Destination 2016. These two awards become an encouraging consolation for the earthquake-hit areas in one Aceh region.
It was Pidie Jaya, Bireuen, Pidie, about 168 km from Banda Aceh, the capital city of Nangroe Aceh Darussalam province. On Wednesday 7 December 2016, a magnitude 6.5 earthquake has hit this regency. Despite its distanced location from Aceh's tourist destinations, the MoT has deployed its Crisis Center Team. "We have gathered information, both primary and secondary, particularly on tourism-related ones" said Harry Waluyo, Chief of MoT's Crisis Center Team.
So far, top 10 tourist destinations in Aceh are safe and unaffected. The condition and activities in Banda Aceh have returned to normal. The capital only experienced the shake. Sultan Iskandar Muda, International Airport has resumed to normal operation yesterday morning, 8 December 2016 following inspection and clearance by the airport authority.
Harry Waluyo said evacuation and rescue is still underway particularly for victims nearby and around the earthquake epicentrum. Crisis Center Team has been informed that no potential tsunami or after-quake to be worried about. "No early check-out or booking cancellation resulting from panic. All is normal, he added.
This is reconfirmed by Head of Aceh Culture and Tourism Board, Reza Pahlevi. He confirmed the situation is fully back to normal and no reasons for worries and panic. "For that reason, we hope that both residents and visitors would not worry about tsunami, as no advice received on avoiding the beach area. Please come to the beach. Please visit Aceh" Reza Pahlevi said.
The government has shown prompt and rigorous response in evacuation and providing assistace for the victims of this magnitude 6.6 earthquake. Immediate assistance is provided since 7 December 2016, following this natural disaster. On Thursday 8 December 2016, Indonesian Armed Forces Chief, Gatot Nurmantyo, has deployed 218 members of Armed Forces medical team for assistance.
Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) reported that by Wednesday (7/12) 17.00 Indonesian Western Time, 94 people are killed, while 128 sustained major injuries and 489 minor injuries.
President Joko Widodo has ordered quick response and prompt assistance for the victim and affected residents. Relief distribution has been underway. Utilities service including electricity, water supply and communications gradually resumes to normal. Aceh governor announces a 14 day period of quick-response disaster management in three affected areas, Pidie Jaya, Pidie and Bireun regencies, from 7-14 December 2016.