Indonesia to relocate residents or move fuel facility after fire

JAKARTA, March 5 (Reuters) – Indonesia will relocate residents living near a fuel-storage fire that killed 16 people or remove the depot owned by state energy company Pertamina to a safer location, President Joko Widodo said on Sunday.

The decision will rest with State-Owned Enterprise Minister Erick Thohir, Pertamina and Jakarta Governor Heru Budi Hartono, he said, adding that no one can live near the facility.

Dozens were injured and hundreds remained displaced on Sunday, Indonesia’s disaster agency said, after Friday’s night’s fire that began in a fuel pipe at the Plumpang depot in the capital Jakarta.

“We do have a clear solution towards this problem,” the president, commonly known as Jokowi, said as he visited survivors in temporary shelters in Plumpang.He said the decision would be made in a day or two.

The fire spread to nearby houses, panicking people in the densely populated before it was extinguished on Friday night. Pertamina has lifted the emergency status for the facility and restarted distribution. It said Jakarta’s fuel supply would remain secure.

Investigation continues into the cause of the fire.The company said on Saturday a pipe leak was detected before the blaze.

The depot might be relocated to artificial islands off the north coast of Jakarta, Jokowi said, adding that ideally the depot would be surrounded by river, not a settlement.Seventeen artificial islands, built by the Jakarta government under the capital’s land reclamation project, have been abandoned in recent years.

Jokowi ordered an audit of similar facilities across Indonesia to prevent similar incidents from occurring.(Reporting by Ananda Teresia; Editing by William Mallard)

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