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EU provides 1.5 million in aid for tsunami and volcano victims JAKARTA - The European Union (EU) on Thursday announced that its Commission will be providing €1.5 million ($2 million) in humanitarian assistance to survivors of the tsunami in Mentawai and the volcanic eruption of Mount Merapi in Java.

Around 65,000 people on the Mentawai Islands and at least 22,000 people in Yogyakarta/Central Java will be benefiting from the funds. The Commission's humanitarian partners will use these funds to provide water and sanitation to victims; access to primary health care and disease control; food and non-food items; emergency telecommunications, emergency shelter; psychological support; logistics and will mainstream disaster preparedness.

"I am deeply concerned about the natural disasters that have struck Indonesia and its inhabitants in the past days," said Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, responsible for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. Indonesia is currently addressing a multitude of emergencies, whose cumulative impact is putting local capacity under severe strain."

"Our funds will help to fill the response gaps in the main relief sectors. This initial emergency assistance will help alleviate the suffering of survivors. The EU has been and will continue to stand by its Indonesian partners in this time of need."

According to officials, the death toll following the tsunami that wrecked villages on the Indonesian islands off the western coast of Sumatra on late Monday has risen to more than 350. Nearly 400 people remain missing, while at least 261 people are injured.

One of the biggest challenges national and international aid agencies have been facing is reaching the remote Mentawai Islands in order to provide the urgent assistance and to identify further humanitarian needs caused by the tsunami.

Rescuers began to arrive at the islands on Wednesday, which were rattled by a massive 7.7-magnitude earthquake at 9.42 p.m. local time (1442 GMT) on Monday that generated the devastating tsunami. At least 10 villages were completely destroyed on the Mentawai Islands, located about 240 kilometers (149 miles) south of Padang, the capital and largest city of West Sumatra.

The initial earthquake struck about 20 kilometers (12.8 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake. Indonesia's seismological agency immediately issued a tsunami warning for nearby coastlines, but the warning came too late for villages on the Mentawai Islands where a three-meter (9.8-feet) tsunami devastated towns near the coast.

The affected population was initially estimated at 33,817 persons. However many islands have become inaccessible and the number of potentially affected people could be over 65,000.

Furthermore, volcano Merapi's activity on Java has not yet ceased, and in both catastrophes, victims are in urgent need of medical assistance, water and food supplies, relief items, emergency shelter and psychological support.

Only a few hours after the tsunami struck the islands, Mount Merapi in Central Java erupted and emitted searing clouds and volcanic ashes. According to UN sources, the eruption has caused 29 confirmed casualties so far with 502 missing.

As a consequence, at least 45,271 people have been evacuated from Sleman district in Yogyakarta and Magelang, Boyolali and Klaten districts of Central Java as the volcanic activity continues.

Indonesia is on the so-called 'Pacific Ring of Fire', an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent and large earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions also occur frequently in the region.

On December 26, 2004, one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded struck off the west coast of Sumatra. The 9.1-magnitude earthquake unleashed a deadly tsunami, striking scores of countries. In all, at least 227,898 people were killed.

Mount Merapi's last notable eruption occurred in 2006, when several people were killed. Before that, major eruptions took place in 1006, 1786, 1822, 1872, and 1930. The 1930 eruption left at least 1,400 people killed.


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Posted in General @ 29 October 2010 02:12 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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