By, Indonesian Red Cross (PMI)
The sky above Mount Sinabung and the Karo District in North Sumatra have been shrouded by a blanket of grey volcanic ash since its recent eruption in early June. The Indonesian Government has raised the alert level to the highest category (level IV) and expanded the danger zone to 7 kilometers from the crater, as the eruption forced 10,645 people from several villages surrounding the mountain to flee to safer places. To date, approximately 10,000 people or 3,000 families are now living in temporary shelters across 10 internally displaced people (IDP) camps. Based on early assessments, some of the most immediate needs include clean water, hygiene kits, face masks, psychosocial support and general practitioners to tend to the sick.
Since Mount Sinabung first erupted in 2010, the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) has been conducting emergency operations to help the affected population by mobilizing volunteers from the Red Cross to the surrounding Karo District. Following the recent eruption, the Red Cross distributed 7,500 masks, 500 tarpaulins, 250 mats, 250 hygiene kits, 200 family kits and 2,000 sheets of zinc roof. A water truck with the capacity of 5,000 litres was dispatched for water storage in the communities.
“The Red Cross will mobilize all its volunteers to help those in need, especially with clean water and sanitation, and health services,” says the Indonesian Red Cross Executive Chairman, Ginandjar Kartasasmita. “We will prioritize our work in the three locations, namely Jambur Lau Buah, Batu Karang Gudang Jeruk Surbakti atau TK Surbakti, dan Jambur Korpri.” Apart from health and hygiene promotions for people living in shelters, the National Society will build a pump and water reservoir, and install semi-permanent latrine facilities. An ambulance providing health services will regularly visit the ten shelters.
The Red Cross received a significant donation amounting to IDR 2.5 billion (around USD 188,000) from Krama Yudha Mitsubishi Group, a prominent national automotive holding company, to aid relief efforts. “We would like to thank Krama Yudha Mitsubishi Group for providing this aid to the communities in the Sinabung area, and for their trust to the Red Cross to channel the donation,” Ginandjar adds.