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Mount Sinabung Eruption – evacuation of communities within a 5-kilometre radius
Geneva, 29 January 2014
1. Brief description of the emergency and impact
Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra Province has been erupting since 15 September 2013. Initially, the eruptions caused the evacuation of all the people within a 3-kilometre radius and an alert level IV (red alert) was maintained until 14 January 2014. Since then Sinabung has erupted several times, with the ash plumes reaching a height of 7 kilometres causing ash fall as far as 80 kilometres away. Consequently, the authorities have expanded the evacuation zone to a five-kilometre radius.
As of 23 January 2014, as many as 9,045 households, or 28,715 people (including around 884 babies, 204 expectant mothers, and 1,620 elderly), from 33 villages on the slopes of the volcano have been moved to 42 evacuation posts/church buildings. More than 10,000 hectares of farm land have been damaged by the ash.
2. Why is an ACT response needed?
The Indonesian government has stated that, despite the escalating status of emergency, it is not going to raise the disaster level to a national catastrophe since the district and provincial authorities have the capacity and resources to carry out any emergency relief needed. This is in contrast to the statements from local churches and humanitarian organisations who have concerns about the possibility of a prolonged temporary displacement and not being able to meet the immediate needs, such as medical assistance (especially for babies, children, the elderly and persons with disabilities), food and non food items, water, emergency latrines in the evacuation posts, along with psychosocial assistance and barrack management.
ACT members with long-standing expertise in emergency response, supported by the strong connection with local churches and humanitarian affiliates on the ground, are planning to respond to the most urgent needs as relief support from district/provincial government is insufficient and not well distributed amongst the many evacuation posts.
3. National and international response
The government has delivered basic relief supplies such as food, clothes, kitchen utensils, water and medicines. The incident command post is under the coordination of Karo District and the Langkat Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), with support from the centre for volcanology and geological hazard mitigation (PVMBG).
4. ACT Alliance response & Planned Activities
Yakkum Emergency Unit (YEU) is deploying its emergency response team (ERT) to deliver relief items, such as hygiene packages, psychosocial support and barrack management design. Lutheran World Relief (LWR) plans to establish three child-friendly spaces complete with recreational kits, as well as distribute 750 elementary and junior school kits, train 30 local teachers on post-disaster psychosocial support and facilitate child protection monitoring throughout the IDP camps.
ACT Indonesia Forum members are monitoring the situation and an ACT RRF or appeal may be requested.
The evacuation posts are disproportionately distributed and some have very limited access for delivery of services or relief items. Additionally, the upcoming national election (both legislative and presidential) may result in challenges to ensuring there is no political interference in the humanitarian assistance.
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