Mt. Merapi, which means “mountain of fire” in Indonesian, is one of the world’s most active volcanos and has erupted regularly since at least 1548. The mount is located between Yogyakarta and Central Java Provinces. Mt. Merapi has increased its activity since October 2010. Officials said about 500 volcanic earthquakes had been recorded on the mountain over the weekend of 23–24 October, and that the magma had risen to about a kilometer below the surface due to the seismic activity.
On 25 October 2010 the Indonesian government raised the alert for Mount Merapi to its highest level and warned villagers living within a 10 km (6 mile) zone to evacuate. Merapi erupted lava the first time from its southern and southeastern slopes and spewed hot ashes into the air, affecting people who live in Sleman District in Yogyakarta and Magelang, Boyolali, and Klaten Districts in Central Java on 26 October 2010 at 17.02 (local time). Since then eruptions have been occurring every day, even several times in a day.
As of 4 November the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) and local government authorities widened the evacuation zone around the volcano from 15 to 20 kilometers from the crater. The safe zone may extend to 30 kilometers since Merapi’s activities continue to intensify.
Blue line indicate 20 KM safe zone.
(Courtesy of http://merapi.combine.or.id/posko/)
According to PVMBG, eruptions continued to occur with high intensity on Friday, 5th November 2010, spewing hot ashes into the air to radius 15 KM and flooding some rivers surrounding Merapi with materials
BNPB confirmed that the death toll had surpassed 100 since the initial eruption on 25 October. More than 73,000 people were displaced on 2nd November 2010 staying in village halls, schools, or in tents. As of today the number of displaced people has increased to around 85,000. The worst affected areas are the districts closest to Merapi: Sleman with 29,466 people displaced and Magelang Districts with 37,233 people displaced.
People who are staying in evacuation areas experience upper respiratory infection and sore eyes because of the ashes. Due to heavy rainfalls that have been occurring in this rainy season, many of the evacuation areas got inundated. The loss of loved ones, abandonment and destruction of houses, property, livelihood, and living in distress, may cause stress among the evacuees. According to one of Jaring Kawan (Psychosocial network) members, volunteers and people who are deployed to evacuation areas have experienced secondary trauma as they haven’t had any opportunity to rest and relax since 28 October 2010.
According to BNPB, local government in Sleman and Jalin Merapi (community-based Merapi data collector) the evacuees still need food supplies, baby food, masks, clean water, blankets, hygiene kit, clothing, sanitation facilities, mats, diapers, sanitary napkins, towels, stoves, animal feed, and medical supplies. They also need more tents and tarpaulins as some evacuation posts are over crowded.
On October 26, 2010, Vice President Boediono designated 500 million IDR for handling thousands of displaced people. Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih also provided operational funds totaling 200 million IDR and medical service for the displaced. In addition, Ministry of Health provided tons of medicine, 50,000 medical masks and also six tons of supplementary food.
As of today President Susilo Bambang Yodhoyono decreed that BNPB is to lead the emergency response in Merapi The Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare is assigned to ensure that the aid distribution goes well. In addition, one Indonesian Military Force brigade, consisting of health, logistics, and construction companies, will be mobilized under the coordination of BNPB.
Clean water is provided by PDAM, Indonesian Red Cross and some other organizations. Indonesian Red Cross also provides food for the evacuees. Jaring Kawan is providing psychosocial intervention in evacuation posts. Indonesia Pharmacist Association provides free mask and eye drops for evacuees.
Church World Service Response
CWS will conduct further assessment and work together with its local partner KYPA, and coordinate with the local government, UN Agencies and other NGOs as well as ACT Alliance members. CWS is planning to launch an appeal to support the affected communities.
Church World Service is a humanitarian non-profit organization whose priority has always been to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. Together with local organizations, we work in urban and rural setting to support sustainable development and help to address the root causes of poverty as well as to provide humanitarian assistance to survivors of natural and human-made disasters. CWS was established in 1946 and has been operating in Indonesia for over 40 years.
Church World Service is a member of ACT Alliance.
Emergency Response Coordinator
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