11 November 2010
The Red Cross is helping thousands of Indonesians after the double disaster of last month’s tsunami in Sumatra and the volcanic eruptions of Mount Merapi in Java, which are ongoing.
The two disasters struck on 25 October. More than 450 people died as a result of an earthquake which caused a tsunami in the Mentawai Islands, off the western coast of Sumatra, and some 15,000 people have been displaced. There are still people missing and at least 10 villages have been totally destroyed. Bad weather has made access to some areas very difficult.
In Java, more than 140 people have died as a result of Mount Merapi’s eruption, which continues and has displaced around 279,000 people, according to the country’s National Disaster Management Agency. At least 400 livestock also perished in this disaster, which will hit people’s livelihoods hard.
Families at risk
Katy Attfield, British Red Cross head of disaster management, said: “The volcano shows no sign of abating and it is possible that even more people will be affected and forced to evacuate from a wider radius around the volcano.
“Although the Indonesian Red Cross is well experienced in responding to emergencies, these latest events highlight the vulnerability of the Indonesian archipelago to natural disasters.”
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has launched an appeal for £2 million to help the people affected by these disasters. The British Red Cross has donated £50,000 from its Disaster Fund to be split evenly between the two emergency response operations. The money will be used to provide relief items, such as blankets, kitchen sets and tarpaulins, as well as meeting water and sanitation needs.
Red Cross support
More than 500 Indonesian Red Cross volunteers continue to evacuate and assist thousands of displaced people near Mount Merapi, providing them with food, clean water and blankets, as well as operating mobile clinics and field kitchens and restoring family links. Shelter, health facilities, clean water and sanitation will remain priorities over the coming weeks.
In the Mentawi islands, staff and volunteers have distributed 300 blankets, 150 tents, 300 tarpaulins, and 50 pairs of crutches. As well as distributing emergency relief items they are running a mobile health clinic.
The money raised by the appeal will help 25,000 people in Java and 3,750 in Mentawai for at least the next six months.
Our Disaster Fund allows us to respond immediately when major disasters strike. Help us be ready in advance and save lives the next time disaster strikes. Please make a donation today.