SOS Children staff in Indonesia have organised the evacuation of more than 300 children and families enrolled on its Family Strengthening Programmes in the towns of Umbulharjo-Cangkringan and Turi Sleman by trucks, motorcycles and ambulances. These towns are located just 13km from the Mount Merapi volcano, which lies some 500 km (310 miles) south-east of Jakarta on Indonesia's most heavily populated island, Java. The volcano erupted on Tuesday and its hot air swept away entire villages and destroyed many homes and buildings. The evacuated families are now staying in camps in Yogyakarta town - many have no homes to return to.
The SOS Family Strengthening Programmes are run from two Social Centres which were built following the region's 2006 earthquake.
The affected centres are:
- “Mutiara Abadi” SOS Children Centre at Umbulharjo Village, Cangkringan, Sleman, only 3.8 kms from the peak
- “Aditya Yodha” SOS Children Center at Turi Village, Sleman
SOS Children staff have also started supplying the affected families in the camps essential items such as masks, milk, food, mats and blankets. They have also established information points in the affected areas of Cangkringan, Turi-Sleman, Boyolali and Yogyakarta city.
The next evacuation is likely to be of children and families from the Sleman and Klaten districts - locations of two SOS Children’s Centres which provide support to 250 children. These places are located in the direction of the lava path. More than 400 children in the north (a sub-district of Selo, Boyolali) and in the west (Bagong, Magelang district) of Mount Merapi, who are also supported by SOS Children, remain in their homes. SOS staff are carefully monitoring the situation and in case of an emergency, these children and their families will also be evacuated to safer areas.
Sadly, we heard news on Friday of the death of one of our volunteers who died while helping people in the areas affected by the volcanic eruptions of Mount Merapi. Read this story.
Indonesia witnessed another disaster this week, a tsunami near Padang caused by a 7.7-magnitude earthquake on Monday. More than 100 people have died so far and thousands have been made homeless after a 3m-high wave crashed into the Mentawai islands off the coast of Western Sumatra. SOS Children does not have any projects in the area.