INTERNATIONAL humanitarian agency World Vision is assessing damage and humanitarian need after the eruption of Mt Kelud in Indonesia on Friday, February 14.
World Vision Indonesia Director of Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Bill Sumuan said that Mt Kelud showered volcanic ash and gravel some 30 kilometres from its crater prompting a call for residents within 10 kilometres to evacuate.
“Local authorities have urged about 200,000 people to evacuate,” Mr Sumuan said. “People used their motorcycles, cars and trucks to flee their villages as volcanic ash limited visibility to just metres,” Mr Sumuan said.
Three international airports – Jogyakarta, Solo and Surabaya – have been forced to close in the reduced visibility from the eruption. The closures could hamper the delivery of aid if needed.
Mt Kelud, in East Java province, is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia, with increasing activity over recent years. The last major eruption of the 1,731-metre mountain was in 2007.
There have been no immediate reports of casualties or damage to properties so far, but the huge eruption has triggered strong explosions and tremors which could be heard and felt as far as 50 kilometres away.
The implications and damage are still to be fully assessed given the geographic coverage of the ash cloud.Mt Kelud has erupted several times during the last century including 1919, 1951, 1966 and 1990. The 1990 eruption, lasting for 45 days, emitted over 50 million cubic metres of volcanic materials. In 2007 authorities ordered the evacuation of about 30,000 residents from near the mountain.
World Vision has been working in Indonesia since 1960.
To donate to World Vision Australia’s Emergency Preparedness Fund, call 13 32 40 or visit www.worldvision.com.au/emergencies
Oxfam International Australia is also currently working closely with partners on the ground to assess the situation and is preparing for the distribution of thousands of face-masks to protect people from harmful smoke and ash.
Oxfam’s spokesperson in Indonesia, Peter Ikin said, “As this is an area of known risk we have contingency stocks already in place in anticipation of an eruption of this nature.
“Given the size of the area already affected by smoke and ash, our first priority is to assess where items such as face-masks and tarpaulins are most acutely needed and how best to distribute them.
“We also have hygiene kits, water supply equipment and other emergency response items on standby in case the situation deteriorates.”
Source: World Vision Australia