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CAFOD responds to twin disasters in Indonesia

Mount Merapi

Mount Merapi

CAFOD partners in Indonesia are responding to the twin disasters which struck the country this week – a volcanic eruption in Yogyakarta, Java, and a tsunami in the Mentawai islands off the western coast of Sumatra.

Caritas Indonesia aid workers are travelling the long distance by boat to the remote Mentawai Islands to distribute vital emergency supplies, including shelter, clean water and cooking utensils. In Yogyakarta, a team of workers from the local parish helped the community members to evacuate their homes and are identifying the most pressing needs.

More than 100 people have been declared dead and 500 more are missing following the tsunami, which was triggered by a 7.7 Richter Scale underwater earthquake late on Monday 25th October. Waves up to 3 metres high swept away hundreds of homes in ten villages. The earthquake also rocked towns along Sumatra’s western coast — including Padang, which was hit last year by a deadly 7.6-magnitude quake that killed 1100 people.

Less than 24 hours later, Mt Merapi (Fire Mountain), one of the most active volcanos in Indonesia, erupted, spewing out rocks and ash, severely affecting the community living around the volcano. Up to 19,000 people living within the 10-kilometre danger zone have been evacuated, with 25 people reported killed.

CAFOD's Indonesia Programme Manager Dini Widiastuti said: “This is a double hit for Indonesia that will really stretch a country still recovering from last year’s terrible earthquake. We're monitoring the situation through Caritas Indonesia and its diocesan networks. Caritas Indonesia - CAFOD’s main local partner providing emergency and humanitarian response - has significant experience in co-ordinating emergency responses, including the work undertaken following the Padang earthquake last year and the Wasior flash flood last month”.