Indonesia Earthquake Relief Update
October 19, 2007
Close to half a million people remain vulnerable to a very possible eruption of Mount Kelud, in East Java. On October 16th 2007, the Government urged the evacuation of 116,000 residents of the most vulnerable villages across the hills of the volcano within 8 miles distance from the volcano. Efforts have been taken to clear pathways for anticipated 30 million meter cubic lava flows through the rivers should the eruption take place. Over 500 quakes have taken place so far while the temperature of the volcanic lake at the mount has increased to 100 degree Fahrenheit.
Despite the highest level disaster warning issued (level 4), many residents have been reluctant to evacuate due to economic reasons and fear of losing personal belongings. Additionally, most still believe in the supernatural power of a local medicine man called Mbah Ronggo, who many believe is the guardian of the mount. He has mentioned that the mount is not to erupt yet, only small activities. In the Mount Merapi situation in 2006, the guardian of the mount was accurate in his prediction that there would not be a major eruption. Such superstition has forced the local government to send weapon-carrying police to force people to evacuate instead of taking the risks of the eruption. The temporary shelters have been reported inadequate for the current 10,000 evacuees.
In May 1919, the Mount Kelud eruption killed 5,190 people while the 1951, 1966, and 1990 eruptions delivered less damaged in a country located in the Ring of Fire where volcanos range from Europe and South America. Ash rains, poisonous gas, hot mud and lava, and earthquakes are immediate risks among the residents with possible needs for housing, food, water, shelter, and health care. A few other volcanos are being watched in North Sulawesi and North Maluku due to increased activities. Many believe that the recent earthquakes combined with global warming has increased the 223 million population's vulnerability in Indonesia.
After delivering medical supplies and hygiene kits for victims of the September 12 earthquake in Bengkulu, South Sumatra, HOPE worldwide Indonesia has received $69,673 funding from The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) to provide additional temporary shelter, mattresses, blankets, clothes, water buckets and hygiene kits for 1,000 families. The distribution will start on October 22, 2007. The assistance will provide relief while the victims are waiting for housing rebuilding assistance promised by the government.
Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy
In the last three years, Indonesia has made worldwide headlines due to the natural disasters of tsunami, earthquake, flood, and volcano eruption. The need of disaster risk reduction among the population has increased, which HOPE worldwide is incorporating in their strategy. In tsunami and earthquake impacted Nias island, a program to create an education module is in place. The modules are to be used by school teachers in educating its students on natural disasters, how to act before and when they take place.
The Bali Climate Change Summit in December 3 - 14 , 2007 will be attended by over 60 countries' representatives and 10,000 participants. Natural disasters and flu pandemic impact will be one of the main concerns due to the climate change.
For further information or inquires:
Charles M. Ham
HOPE worldwide - Indonesia
Gedung Putera Lt 7, Jl. Gunung Sahari 39, Jakarta 10720 - Indonesia
Telp: 62-21-600-9091, Fax: 62-21-601-0570
September 12- The Earthquake Hits
September 13- Help Arrives
September 14- Overcoming Obstacles
September 20- A Letter from HOPE worldwide Indonesia
October 1- What is Next?
October 19- Increased Volcanic Activites Endanger Thousands
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