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THOUSANDS of face masks are being distributed by children’s charity Plan International after a volcano erupted in Indonesia spewing ash across the island of Java.
Mount Kelud erupted last Thursday, resulting in three deaths and the displacement of about 76,000 people.
More than 700 have been hospitalised due to respiratory problems and injuries.
It is understood air quality is improving but many cities and villages are still covered in a thick layer of ash.
As local authorities try to clean the area, schools have been closed, along with several airports.
“The most urgent need at the moment is masks and tools for cleaning the ashes on the main roads to minimise accidents,” says Myrna Remata-Evora, Plan’s Country Director in Indonesia.
“Two of Plan’s emergency response team members have been deployed to affected areas in Kediri district for a rapid needs assessment and two of Plan’s local partners are also on the ground.
“Plan is distributing 10,000 masks to affected people during the assessment process,” she added.
Plan is working with the local and national government, as well as other aid agencies, to monitor the situation and co-ordinate the response.
The volcano had been rumbling for weeks but, according to the Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, volcanic activity is now decreasing.
Earlier this month, at least 14 people were killed, and thousands forced to flee, in Sumatra when another volcano, Mount Sinaburg, erupted.
For more information on Plan’s work or to make a donation call 0800 526 848 or visit www.plan-uk.org