INDONESIA – Salvation Army teams in Indonesia continue to provide assistance to people affected by the eruption of Mount Merapi on the island of Java. At least 138 people are now known to have been killed in the disaster and more than 200,000 have been evacuated.
A team from The Salvation Army’s William Booth Hospital in the city of Semarang attended the disaster area within days of the first eruption on 26 October. When the most violent eruption occurred on 3 November the emergency team was working approximately eight kilometers from Mount Merapi. Along with other non-governmental organization (NGO) workers and local people the team members were evacuated immediately for their own safety – with no time to recover tents, medical supplies, and other resources.
The government issued an order that all residents and NGO workers must remain at least 20 kilometers from Mount Merapi. The Salvation Army base is now at a safe distance of 36 kilometers from the mountain at Tlogoadi Village Elementary School, where the team is assisting 692 displaced people, including 140 children.
Life in the makeshift shelter is hard and there is a lack of nutritious food, clean water for bathing and drinking, as well as a shortage of toilets (10 for 692 people). Displaced people are sleeping on thin mats on the hard floor. The Salvation Army is providing medical care and nutritious food. Local volunteers from Tlogoadi are assisting with the cooking.
The Salvation Army Emergency team will continue working in the area until the volatile mountain settles and people are allowed to return to their homes. A reassessment of the needs will be carried out in the coming weeks to determine if a long term reconstruction and rehabilitation response is required.