Following the eruption of Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta, central Java and the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in the Mentawai Islands, in late October, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is launching an appeal for 2.8 million Swiss francs (USD 2.9 million/EUR 2 million) to support the Indonesian Red Cross (Palang Merah Indonesia or PMI) in assisting 25,000 people in Merapi and 3,750 in Mentawai.
The eruption of the Mount Merapi volcano has killed at least 34 people and displaced more than 70,000. A second eruption occurred on 1 November.
In Mentawai, the three-metre-high tsunami wave caused by a strong earthquake left at least 449 people dead, with nearly 100 people still missing and more than 400 injured. Hundreds of houses have been washed away or damaged, and some 15,000 people are displaced. Bad weather and rough seas hampered the initial stages of the relief operation.
A team of PMI Red Cross staff and volunteers were among the first to reach the islands, bringing relief goods and body bags. New teams have arrived to bring more help and search for survivors in the few areas which have still not been reached.
“As access to the affected locations in Mentawai is still critical, we will increase our support for means of transportation – by sea and by land – to deliver more relief supplies to the survivors,” says the head of the IFRC delegation in Jakarta, Phillip Charlesworth, after a visit to the islands on 1 November.
During the emergency and the early phases of recovery, the IFRC will also assist PMI in providing health services, including psychosocial support, water and sanitation facilities, interim shelter and relief food and non-food items to survivors.
Some 400 additional volunteers from Indonesian Red Cross are assisting thousands of displaced people near Mount Merapi, providing them with food, clean water, blankets as well as operating mobile clinics and field kitchens. Shelter, health facilities, clean water and sanitation will remain priorities over the coming weeks. The appeal has been launched in order to continue and expand these activities.
Located on a major fault line in the region called the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, Indonesia is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Since 1998, the IFRC has been working with Indonesian Red Cross to increase their capacity and preparedness to deal with natural disasters and health crises.