October 29 2010

Volcanic eruption in Indonesia: SOS Children's Villages mourns the death of one of its volunteers

29/10/2010 - SOS Children's Villages mourns the death of one of its volunteers who died while helping out people in the areas affected by volcanic eruptions of Mount Merapi. More than 600 evacuated children are accommodated in temporary SOS camps.

Slamet was the coordinator of the SOS Family Strengthening Programme in the Kinahrejo area where landscape enveloped grey sheen due to heavy falling of volcanic ash. Slamet was also member of the Disaster Response Group called Tagana. His body was found along with three others. Slamet was working in the vicinity of the SOS Children's Centre at “Mutiara Abadi”. He died at a place very near to the Mount Merapi where movement for citizens is restricted; only rescue teams can go there to find out if anybody is still there. Slamet must have died due to burning clouds of ash falling on him. “We lost a real fighter who always stood for the needy people,” said Tatang Kurnia, responsible coordinator of the SOS Family Strengthening Programme.


Photo: SOS Archives
Evacuated children in one of the temporary shelters - Photo: SOS Archives
SOS Children's Villages Indonesia is focusing on the well-being of children as they suffer the most in the disaster. They are at risk of respiratory diseases as the masks meant for protecting the face from the volcanic ash coming with strong wind are available in sizes for adults only. Another problem is the shortage of baby food for the smallest children. Most of the people are receiving food from public kitchens.

Therefore, SOS Children's Villages has decided to procure and distribute appropriate masks and nutritious packaged food and milk for the children. In Yogyakarta, a temporary centre is being set up to store the necessary items.

Children usually attending eight SOS Children's Centres in the area now affected by the volcanic eruption have been accommodated at SOS camps, most of them together with their parents. At the moment there are 435 children cared for at the “Umbulharjo Cangkringan” camp and another 186 children at the “Turi Sleman” camp.

In the meanwhile, rescue efforts are afoot and remaining people are being evacuated as the volcano Mount Merapi erupted again yesterday.