Thursday, October 28, 2010

Multiple disasters in Asia

Here is an update on the multiple disasters in Asia. The volcano Merapi erupted on Tuesday killing 31 people in Indonesia. On top of the volcanic eruption an earthquake and tsunami hit the country which killed over 250 people.

First, this news story from the Jakarta Post details some of the evacuation efforts from the volcano eruption.

On Wednesday, the stench of sulfur and dead livestock was in the air with thick ash covering flattened houses, turning the area eerie white.

Most fatalities came from Kinahrejo hamlet in Cangkringan district, Sleman regency, Yogyakarta, or the home of the volcano’s spiritual keeper Ki Surakso Hargo, better known as Mbah Maridjan. The 85-year-old’s body was found at his home in the hamlet, located 5 kilometers from the mountain’s raging crater. The burnt and prostrated body, presumed to be in prayer, was identified by relatives and this image was instantly circulated through mobile phones.

Merapi’s eruption, which took place the day it was put on top-alert status, took residents by surprise, forcing many, including those living outside the 10-kilometer danger zone, to flee to shelters.

Resident Tukirah of Pangukrejo hamlet in Cangkringan, said the disaster happened quickly. “Suddenly we heard loud roars followed by sirens,” after which everyone fled.

About 19,000 residents took refuge in seven shelters in Yogyakarta, which in all can only accommodate 12,000 evacuees. Some 30,000 others took to 39 shelters in Magelang.

Many locals from Yogyakarta who arrived in the shelters after the 5:03 p.m. eruption on Tuesday were not provided with food supplies.

“Supplies such as bottled water arrived at shelters at 1:30 a.m. [on Wednesday],” said Agusti Handayani, who took refuge with her family.

Next, this Save The Children press release talks about the emergency assistance for not only Indonesia but also the recent disasters in the Philippines and Myanmar.

Media Contact:
Kate Conradt

202.640.6631 (W)
202.294.9700 (M)

WESTPORT, Conn. (Oct. 28, 2010) — Save the Children staff is delivering emergency relief and readying to respond to the needs of children and families affected by multiple disasters in countries throughout Asia, including Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines, over the past 10 days.

“When emergencies strike, children’s health and well-being are most at risk,” said Annie Foster, Save the Children’s associate vice president for humanitarian response. “It is critical that we respond to their needs in the immediate hours, days and weeks following a major disaster.”

Foster added, “We learned a lot following the 2004 Asian tsunami, and now our field offices have emergency preparedness plans in place with governments and communities so that when disasters strike — even multiple ones like those this week — we are ready to help.”
Assessing Needs in Indonesia Following Major Quake and Volcanic Eruption

In Indonesia, Save the Children has deployed emergency teams to the sites of twin disasters in separate parts of the country, preparing to respond if necessary.

On Monday morning, a 7.7-magnitude earthquake rattled West Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that slammed into the remote Mentawai Islands last Monday, causing damage to villages in the south and claiming more than 300 lives, with hundreds more missing, according to the government.

Across the country, on the isle of Java, the volcano Mt. Merapi erupted on Tuesday, sending ash and searing volcanic material into the air and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people living the area.

“Save the Children has deployed a team to both the tsunami- and volcano-affected areas to look into the situations of children and their families. We have a long history in Indonesia and the ability to launch rapid responses and reach affected children and families thanks to preparedness efforts in the country,” said Lala Borja, Save the Children’s country director in Indonesia. “We store relief supplies in warehouses in Java and Sumatra, ready for distribution at the onset of a crisis, and have experienced local and international staff on call to respond.”
Providing Relief to Cyclone-Affected Families in Myanmar

In Myanmar, Save the Children has deployed emergency response teams to assist families in remote coastal areas of western Myanmar hit by Cyclone Giri, a Category 4 storm, last Friday.

Save the Children staff traveled 36 hours across mountains blocked by mudslides to reach the coastal region. They are reporting that the full extent of the storm’s impact on children and families is only now starting to become clear.

“Our teams on the ground are reporting that whole islands have been destroyed — schools, homes and, in some cases, entire villages swept away,” said Andrew Kirkwood, country director for Save the Children in Myanmar.

According to the UN, 400,000 children and adults have been affected.

Save the Children has 26 staff in the impact area distributing emergency supplies of food and water to vulnerable children and adults. Over the past three days, Save the Children has reached 20,000 people with rice. The organization aims to reach 80,000 in the coming weeks with food, water, oral rehydration salts, water purification tablets and plastic sheeting. It is also distributing children’s kits with clothes, sandals and toys for families who will have lost everything in this disaster.
Assisting Families Affected by Super Typhoon in the Philippines

In the Philippines, Save the Children will begin distributing relief supplies, including household and school kits, to children and families in Isabela Province, which sustained extensive damage when Category 5 Typhoon Megi tore across the northern Philippines on October 18.

More than 2 million children and adults have been affected by the storm, according to the Phillipine government’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). Megi destroyed more than 30,000 homes and damaged an additional 118,000 houses.

“Thousands of families have been displaced, and many will have no homes when they return. Their immediate needs include food, materials to help rebuild or repair their homes, and household necessities to replace those lost in the storm,” said Rowena Cordero, Save the Children’s country director in the Philippines.

The organization also will support education and the economic recovery of parents so that they can better provide for their children.

“In addition to providing the basics to help the storm-affected population through the immediate days after this crisis, we also plan to support children’s return to school,” said Cordero. “Children lost their school materials when Megi roared through their villages and homes, and many schools suffered damage. We will work to help repair or refurbish schools and plan to provide back-to-school kits so that children do not miss out on their education.”

The organization aims to reach more than 154,000 people from eight of the worst hit municipalities in Isabela Province.

Save the Children is the leading, independent organization that creates lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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