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ShelterBox responds to Indonesia volcano eruption

Source: ShelterBox - Fri, 14 Feb 2014 03:40 PM
Author: ShelterBox
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SRT volunteers Vensentius Dwijatmoko (left) and Jamie Adams (second from left) with local Rotary club contacts assessing the need at Mount Sinabung, Indonesia, February 2014.
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Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) is travelling to Java, Indonesia and will arrive on 15 February to carry out needs assessments following the eruption of yet another volcano in the Asian country – Mount Kelud on the heavily populated island of Java.

ShelterBox is responding to the second Indonesian volcano eruption in two weeks. Tens of thousands of people have been forced from their homes on Friday after Mount Kelud sent a big plume of ash and sand 10 miles (17 km) into the air.

‘Based on verified data, over 76,000 people have been evacuated from five cities around the volcano ... and about 200,000 people have been affected,’ said the Asian country’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Nugroho.

Families still being evacuated

Nugroho also added that even though Mount Kelud is no longer erupting, the ash has spread as far as 312 miles (500 km) to the west and northwest. More families are still being evacuated.

Images of infrastructure covered in a thick layer of grey ash have been broadcast through various news agencies.

SRT volunteer Mike Peachy will be joining in-country Response Team volunteer Vensentius Dwijatmoko to assess the need for emergency shelter and other vital aid, working with local Rotary club contacts and other aid agencies.

‘In country SRT volunteers… invaluable’

‘At this stage our plans are to obtain a clearer picture of the latest situation regarding the disaster by gaining information through not just other aid agencies and local media but also through Vensentius. In country SRT volunteers are invaluable as they speak the local language and have a detailed understanding of local customs, the political situation and structure, security, infrastructure and contacts.

‘Vensentius will be able to provide insights and access that would take foreign SRT volunteers days or weeks to establish and grasp an understanding of, resulting in slower and less informed responses.’

Prepositioned aid

If a need is found, ShelterBox has aid prepositioned in Indonesia to enable a quick and efficient response, bringing shelter and vital supplies to families who may be in need.

Vensentius was also part of the Response Team that responded to flooding in Indonesia’s Jakarta two weeks ago when Mount Sinabung volcano erupted. The assessments carried out showed there was no unmet shelter need.

As one of 130 active volcanoes, Mount Kelud lies along the ‘Ring of Fire’ volcanic belt around the coast of the Pacific Ocean in the world’s fourth most populous country.

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