SOS Children today mourns the death of one of its volunteers who died while helping people in the areas affected by the volcanic eruptions of Mount Merapi. More than 500 evacuated children are currently sheltering in temporary SOS camps.
Slamet was the coordinator of the SOS Family Strengthening Programme in the Kinahrejo area where landscape was enveloped by a 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 from burning clouds of ash. “We lost a real fighter who always stood for the needy people,” said Tatang Kurnia, Coordinator of the SOS Family Strengthening Programme.
SOS Children's Villages Indonesia is focusing on the well-being of children who are at particular risk of respiratory diseases because the masks meant for protecting their faces from the volcanic ash are available in adult sizes only. Another problem is the shortage of baby food for the smallest children. Therefore, SOS Children 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 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 meantime, rescue efforts are afoot and remaining people are being evacuated as the volcano Mount Merapi erupted again yesterday.