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 Surabaya government praised in AirAsia incident

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BerichtOnderwerp: Surabaya government praised in AirAsia incident    Surabaya government praised in AirAsia incident  Icon_minitimedi 13 jan 2015 - 7:31

The Jakarta Post, Surabaya,Tuesday January 13 201

The Surabaya administration’s efforts to help the families of passengers who were on board AirAsia flight QZ8501 have been praised, both by the families and the wider public.

Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini — or Risma as she is more popularly known — has been the focal point of such efforts.

“I didn’t expect the Surabaya mayor to hug me. She accompanied me and told me to be tough and patient,” Victor Benamen, a family member of passengers Fiona Florensia Abraham and Inda Diani of West Maluku, told The Jakarta Post recently.

Victor and dozens of other families were left shattered after they watched TV footage of a body floating in the Karimata Strait, three days after the plane went missing.

He said Risma had also helped his family by speaking with AirAsia to help send the bodies of his relatives to their father, Abraham Liong, in their home village, if and when the bodies were found.

“She didn’t just prioritize Surabaya residents, but also cared about other victims from outside Surabaya,” Victor said.

Joko Santoso, a family member of another victim, said Risma had visited his family at the hotel where they were staying in Surabaya and gave words of encouragement, asking them to keep on praying for the best for their relative Christanto Leoma Hutama, who was on board the flight.

“Risma hugged my crying sister after hearing about the discovery of the plane’s wreckage and also personally came to us,” Joko said.

AirAsia flight QZ8501, carrying 155 passengers and seven crew members, crashed in the Karimata Strait around 40 minutes into its journey from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya to Changi Airport, Singapore on Dec. 28, 2014.

Twelve hours after the flight was reported to have lost contact with Jakarta air traffic control, Risma and her staff set up an office at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya.

“Initially, I just wanted to be responsible for my own people, but we were also moved to help other families outside Surabaya,” said the mayor.

She also assured that although she had been hands on in helping the victims’ families, her city administration duties were not being neglected.

“I understand [the families’] situation,” she said.

Risma said she had collected data on the victims to ensure that their assets were secure.

“After collecting the data I asked the police to guard the victims’ houses,” Risma said, adding that the data was also useful for the insurance claim and for tracing the victims’ bank accounts.

According to Risma, this needed to be anticipated to prevent the misappropriation of the victims’ assets and fortunes by illegitimate parties.

Surabaya officials have quickened the death certificate process for the families, reducing it to hours instead of days. The death certificates are required to process insurance claims. The administration has issued 17 certificates so far.

On New Year’s Eve, Risma canceled all planned celebrations by the administration.

Surabaya councilor Reni Astuti expressed hope that Risma’s efforts would inspire all Surabaya administration staff and the heads of other regions.

National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) East Java head Hernanto said Risma had set a good example of how a local administration should deal with a disaster.

“Just look at how Risma has been there for the families of the victims, helping with their psychological condition. This is not easy,” Hernanto said.

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