UN responds to Indonesia volcano and earthquake emergencies

Oct 28, 2010

An elderly woman awaits assistance at an evacuation
centre for those displaced by the Mount Merapi volcano
in central Java. Photo: © Contributor/IRIN

Jakarta - Following an invitation from the Government of Indonesia for assistance from international organizations present in Indonesia, the United Nations is participating in a joint assessment mission in the Mount Merapi area of Java to establish the immediate needs of populations affected by a volcanic eruption on Tuesday 26 October.

An estimated 42,000 people have been evacuated from four districts surrounding the volcano in Central Java and Yogyakarta. Despite early warnings and early attempts by authorities to evacuate families at risk, 29 people are reported dead and 28 hospitalized.

The Government has indicated its capacity to handle this humanitarian emergency concurrently with the situation on the southwest coast of Mentawai Regency, West Sumatra, which resulted from a powerful earthquake on Monday 25 October, triggering a tsunami alert.  The National Disaster Management Agency has confirmed 311 casualties and at least 370 missing in the area as of today.

An advance team from the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator, based in Padang, West Sumatra, has joined government officials to assess the affected areas. A joint UN assessment team is scheduled to join them on 29 October.

UN agencies have been putting in place emergency preparedness measures, moving humanitarian supplies for immediate deployment to the Mentawai and Mount Merapi areas, and contacting partner organizations to assess their ability to support humanitarian relief efforts if required.

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