Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes are no rarity here in Indonesia. The Indonesian archipelago is a series of thousands of volcanic islands which emerged from the ocean millions of years ago. These islands are the product of the convergence of the Indo-Australian and Eurasian tectonic plates. It is our home.
The trade-off for the fertile lands, natural resources and wonderful seas around the area is the ever-present risk of disaster. The price of these disasters, when they occur, is usually paid in the lives of the poor.
Since the tsunami of 2004 an early-warning system has been developed and implemented in many locations in the Indian Ocean. In 2006, it appears that early-warning messages were not relayed appropriately, costing more lives in Pangandaran. No early warning existed for the recent Mentawais tsunami, as it was not considered cost-effective to install the system for such a small population. At least 430 people were killed.
The Mentawais are an internationally-renowned spot for high-class surf, and SurfAid International are leading fund-raising and relief operations in the area. Through the Surf-Aid schools project, you can access free resources and teaching materials to help students learn about global issues, the oceans and citizenship.To make a donation to the Mentawais relief efforts, please visit their site. Here is a video report on the affected area from their website:
Another ongoing story is the eruption of Gunung Merapi in central Java. This is a little closer to home for us here in Bandung, though our city is not directly affected. However, thousands have been displaced and many lives lost, with a high demand still for aid and support. For a gallery of hard-hitting images from the Guardian, click on the photo below:
Among those affected are SOS Children’s Villages in the region. These are orphanages and community projects which provide homes and education for hundreds of children. They are in real need of basics – clothes, nappies, baby needs and more. If you wish to donate directly to SOS in Indonesia, please follow the link here. If you wish to make a donation to the international organisation, please visit their international website here. Tax advantages are applicable in some countries and you get some say over where your money goes.
BIS students are aiming to help the Merapi SOS Children’s Villages that were affected by raising money through the annual Talent Show and collecting materials and resources needed . Good luck!
Here’s some AP video footage of Merapi in action: