Weather improves but progress slow in AirAsia search

admin   •   January 7, 2015   •   2539

A Malaysian Navy ship is seen from an Indonesian Air Force Super Puma helicopter during a search mission for for AirAsia flight QZ8501 off the coast of Central Kalimantan January 6, 2015. CREDIT: REUTERS/VERI SANOVRI

(Reuters) – Indonesian search and rescue officials reported better weather on Wednesday over the presumed crash site of an AirAsia passenger jet, but appeared no closer to finding the black box flight recorders that may explain what brought the plane down.

Flight QZ8501 vanished from radar screens over the northern Java Sea on Dec. 28, less than half-way into a two-hour flight from Indonesia’s second-biggest city of Surabaya to Singapore. There were no survivors among the 162 people on board.

Thirty-nine bodies and debris from the plane have since been plucked from the surface of the waters off Borneo, but strong winds and high waves have prevented divers from reaching larger pieces of suspected wreckage detected by sonar on the sea floor. “It’s clear, it’s much better than the past few days,” air force First Lieutenant Alpha Yudi Baskoro told reporters in Pangkalan Bun, the southern Borneo town where the operation is based. “Waves are around one to two meters – that’s good. The wind speed is also relatively low.”

Indonesian officials believe seven metal objects pinpointed in water about 30 meters deep may include the tail and parts of the fuselage of the Airbus A320-200.

But even on the few occasions the weather has allowed divers to enter the water, strong currents and poor visibility in the muddy sea have made progress painstakingly slow.

“We couldn’t dive for long, only five or 10 minutes and then go up,” navy diving supervisor Sergeant Major Rudi Hartanto told Reuters late on Tuesday. “The sea bed is mostly mud and sand, and the current is strong – four to five knots – so the mud comes up and the visibility reduces to zero.”

For relatives of those aboard the flight, the slow pace has been agonizing. “I’m still looking for my younger sibling,” said a woman, who did not give her name, at the crisis center set up for relatives in Surabaya.

Indonesia AirAsia, 49 percent owned by the Malaysia-based AirAsia budget group, has faced criticism from authorities in Jakarta in the 10 days since the crash.

The transport ministry has suspended the carrier’s Surabaya-Singapore license, saying it only had permission to fly the route on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Flight QZ8501 took off on a Sunday, though the ministry said this had no bearing on the accident.

AirAsia has said it is cooperating fully with the ministry’s investigations.

Indonesia has also reassigned some airport and air traffic control officials who allowed the flight to take off and tightened rules on pre-flight procedures in a country with a patchy reputation for air safety.

(Additional reporting by Gayatri Suroyo, Nicholas Owen, Wilda Asmarini, Eveline Danubrata, Michael Taylor, Charlotte Greenfield and Fransiska Nangoy in Jakarta/Surabaya; Writing by Alex Richardson)

Palace unconvinced PH has higher COVID-19 cases than Indonesia

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 7, 2020

Malacañang is not convinced that the Philippines has surpassed Indonesia in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

During a press briefing on Friday (August 7), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Philippines is conducting more COVID-19 tests which resulted in more confirmed cases.

Ibig sabihin po dahil mas maigiting ang ating pagte-test hindi totoo na mas marami tayo kaso kaysa sa Indonesia. Hindi lamang nalalaman ng mga Indonesian kung sino-sino ang mga umiikot na mayroong sakit at least tayo alam kung sino po sila (It means we are conducting more tests. It is not true that we have more cases than Indonesia. The Indonesians don’t know who are sick at least, on our case, we know),” he said.

The Department of Health (DOH) has previously explained that the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines cannot be compared to other countries because of the population difference and health care system.

Meanwhile, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said no country can say they have been successful in their fight against COVID-19.

“No country could ever say they are successful. Look at Japan, look at Italy, even Vietnam, and Singapore,” he said. “We focus on what we are doing is appropriate, proper, and practical rather than everyday compare yourself.” -AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

Indonesia reports total number of coronavirus cases top 100,000

UNTV News   •   July 28, 2020

Indonesia surpassed 100,000 cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday (July 27), reporting 1,525 new infections to take the total number to 100,303, data from the country’s Health Ministry website showed.

In Jakarta, people are worried with no clarity over the data provided by the government. “We really need the clarity from the government on the exact data of Covid-19, including the red zone area which can help us to be aware of ourselves to not go there.” Cia Teresia said, a 22-year old university student. In one of the busiest bus stations, bus workers are seen giving awareness for passengers by wearing protective suits and holding a placard with number of coronavirus cases in Jakarta.

The tally came one week after President Joko Widodo formed two new COVID-19 committees for the virus handling and the recovery of its economy.

The number of deaths in the Southeast Asian nation related to COVID-19 also increased by 57, to bring the total to 4,838, the data showed. (Reuters)

(Production: Yuddy Cahya Budiman, Angie Teo)

Coronavirus outbreak inspires bursts of mask fashion creativity in Indonesia, Malaysia

UNTV News   •   June 26, 2020

Designers in Indonesia and Malaysia are adding their artistic touches to reusable face masks, providing essential supplies and style and uniqueness amid the pandemic.

In the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, Nicholas Septian Sugandi’s print shop had been losing business throughout his country’s mass-scale restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, but thanks to a new product introduced in May, lost business has been “recovered”.

Sugandi’s shop has been printing customers’ faces onto reusable face masks so that they can “look like themselves” when wearing it.

Each of the reusable masks takes around 30 minutes to produce, and cost 50,000 Indonesian rupiah ($3) each. The print shop has received hundreds of orders.

Wearing a face mask remains a mandatory practice across Indonesia.

In neighbouring Malaysia, textile designer Hafiz Drahman has utilised traditional designs from around the region to create colourful cloth masks with interchangeable filters.

In particular, Hafiz uses Batik, which is a traditional Javanese art that uses wax and ink to decorate cloth, and is derived from the Javanese word “titik,” meaning “dot”.

“So, as a designer, I saw that as an opportunity to use the cloth that I had, that is Batik textiles, and turn it into face masks,” Hafiz said from his workshop in Shah Alam, on the outskirts of capital Kuala Lumpur.

Although face masks are not compulsory in Malaysia, people are encouraged to wear them to protect themselves in public areas.

Hafiz currently sells his masks at 20 ringgits ($4.68) each.

Indonesia currently has 50,187 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,620 deaths, the highest total in Southeast Asia, while Malaysia has recorded 8,600 cases and 121 deaths as of Friday morning (June 26). (Reuters)

(Production: Yuddy Budiman, Embrahim Harris, Angie Teo)

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