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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 March, 2005, 13:10 GMT 14:10 UK
Press urges major action after latest quake
Family in aftermath of quake on Nias
Families were struggling to survive without food

Newspapers in Indonesia and Malaysia have called for urgent action to tackle the aftermath of the earthquake which hit the Indonesian island of Nias on Monday night.

In Indonesia, commentators stress the need for immediate relief measures as well as longer-term planning to ensure there is no delay in helping victims of such disasters in the future.

Malaysian papers call for early-warning systems to be set up as soon as possible, and building regulations to be tightened in earthquake zones.

Jakarta's Suara Karya recalls the December tsunami which caused massive loss of life in Indonesia and hopes lessons have been learned.

The disaster in Nias must be seen as a test for the nation
Suara Merdeka

"Our government must react quickly," it says. "The previous disaster should be a lesson. The handling of the victims, aid and volunteers must be better this time."

The editorial also calls for a system to "anticipate the victims' problems in the future".

"This nation must suffer a heavy burden once again," says Semarang's Suara Merdeka. "The disaster in Nias must be seen as a test for the nation and government as the burdens of the Aceh recovery are still enormous."

It calls on the government to carry out relief measures "efficiently and effectively".

According to Medan's Waspada: "It is time for our to form a team to take care of the earthquake victims."

"They say that lightning never strikes twice," says an editorial in the Jakarta Post. "But earthquakes apparently do. Poor communications have so far hampered rescue operations."


The paper finds it "heartening to learn that offers of help have already come in from countries as far apart as the United States, Australia and Japan".

In neighbouring Malaysia, several papers call for an early-warning system to be set up as soon as possible.

Setting up an early-warning system can no longer be delayed
Sin Chew Jit Poh

Petaling Jaya's Chinese-language Sin Chew Jit Poh frets that "although the affected countries quickly sent tsunami warnings after this earthquake, they still relied on the warnings of the US, Japan and other countries".

"Setting up an early-warning system can no longer be delayed."

Penang's Chinese-language Kwong Wah Yit Poh agrees: "Coastal countries in the Indian Ocean need to set up a tsunami early-warning centre, a preventive measure which can no longer be delayed for an instant."

The Malaysian press also raises concerns over building-safety codes in earthquake zones.

Sin Chew Jit Poh calls for special regulations to be introduced as a matter of urgency, a plea echoed by Petaling Jaya's Guangming Daily, which says builders should "be forced to install quakeproof systems".

Kwong Wah Yit Poh complains that broadcasters were caught napping.

"What were news departments and state-run television stations doing?!," it asks angrily, adding that only the private television station NTV7 responded immediately.

A word of encouragement comes from Kuala Lumpur's New Straits Times. "So how did Malaysia respond?," it asks. "The verdict: Malaysia responded much better to the fallout from yesterday's earthquake in Sumatra than the tsunami three months ago."

It says the quick response from the meteorological department "helped authorities conduct an orderly evacuation of 1,052 residents from coastal areas in Penang and Kedah, and gave them a head start in warning fishermen out at sea of the possibility of a tsunami".

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.

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