Two destructive disasters, a volcano eruption and a 7.2-magnitute earthquake struck Indonesia on 26 and 25 October respectively, affecting tens of thousands of people. UNICEF’s emergency preparedness measures have swung into action to provide necessary emergency assistance and relief.
Volcano eruption at Mount Merapi
A volcano at Mount Merapi in Central Java province erupted on 26 October. An estimated 40,000 people live in the volcano area, including more than an estimated 10,000 children.
Despite earlier attempts by authorities to evacuate families believed to be at immediate risk of lava flows, 24 people are reported deadand 28 people to be in hospital suffering from burn injuries and respiratory problems as of 27 October.
Earthquake and tsunami in Mentawai
A powerful 7.2-magnitute earthquake struck the south-west coast of Mentawai regency in West Sumatra province on 25 October, triggering large waves and a tsunami with sea water coming 600 metres inland in some areas.
Official casualty figures currently report 154 deaths and more than 400 people still missing as of 27 October. Severe damage has been reported to 179 houses, with another 300 slightly damaged.
To facilitate the emergency operation for the volcano eruption in Java, UNICEF is participating in joint UN assessment mission starting on 27 October. A UNICEF Immediate Needs document will be disseminated on 1 November.
As for the earthquake, the Government of Indonesia has not requested international assistance, but a team from UNDP based in Padang, West Sumatra, is joining government officials to assess the affected areas on 27 October.
In the meantime, emergency preparedness measures are already in place for both emergencies. UNICEF has schools-in-a-box, school tents, family hygiene kits, jerry cans, water bladders, psychosocial kits, hygiene education and breastfeeding promotion materials all available for immediate deployment to the affected areas, including supplies already positioned. Partners are also being contacted to assess their ability to implement activities if required.