November 4 2010

More volcanic eruptions in Indonesia

04/11/2010 - As several new eruptions shake the ground in an expanding danger zone around Mount Merapi, Indonesia, SOS Children's Villages hurries to provide shelter to a growing number of displaced children and their families.

Photo: SOS Archives
The area around Mount Merapi is covered in a layer of ash - Photo: SOS Archives
While children and their families are still accommodated in camps, new eruptions with three times greater force than last week have created panic and many people moved farther from their present shelters. Heavy rains yesterday exacerbated the situation and made living conditions miserable. The danger zone has extended to 15kms around the volcano and people are fleeing towards Yogyakarta city 30 km away. SOS Children’s Villages has already ten shelters in the city, with co-workers trying to make arrangements to accommodate more children in the city camps.

Photo: SOS Archives
SOS Children's Villages helps children and their families, some of whom have had to flee repeatedly - Photo: SOS Archives
SOS Children’s Villages is also about to send the teams of trained co-workers from Lembang and Semarang for trauma healing of the children.

Some of the families under the SOS Family Strengthening Programme who have taken shelter in SOS accommodations at different places last week left the shelters and fled in panic. Many of them used to visit their houses during daytime to feed their livestock while their children remained in the posts and they returned in the evening.

Photo: SOS Archives
The air in the danger zone is thick with ash from the recent eruptions - Photo: SOS Archives

The situation around Mount Merapi remains grave and experts fear the eruptions could continue for at least two months. All major air operators have already halted flights to Yogyakarta city.

An SOS co-worker participating in the effort of providing children and their families with shelter and basic necessities gave a first-hand account of the scene in the camps three days ago, conveying the hectic, confusing nature of the unfolding situation in graphic detail (see related links).