Kasihan Indonesia


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Photograph by Slamet Riyadi, AP

Sorry for the upsetting image.  It was so powerful I couldn’t pass it up.

Poor Indonesia.  Mt Merapi, a volcano in Central Java, not too far from Yogyakarta, continues to belch hot ash and gases into the air, creating more internally displaced persons and more deaths.

Read more on the NY Times

Read more on Jakarta Globe

See this video on YouTube of the ash covered towns following one of the earlier eruptions.

Some pictures of Merapi from when I visited the area in April.

The victims of the tsunami that recently hit the Mentawai islands, off Padang in West Sumatra, following an earthquake are struggling too.  Read more at The Jakarta Globe. The death toll is estimated at some 427 people.  The isolated Mentawai islands were already impoverished before the wave hit, with high incidences of malaria and other diseases.

If you want to help, there are a few ways to donate.

Surf Aid International, based in Padang and with a long relationship working in the Mentawai islands to fight malaria, is collecting donations to help those who have lost their homes.

You can also donate to support the work to help those displaced or injured in the areas affected by the Merapi eruption.

The Indonesian Red Cross (Palang Merah Indonesia)  has a campaign running for those in Indonesia to donate.

I haven’t found a reputable way I am willing to endorse for people in Australia to donate for Merapi yet… if anyone knows a good one, please let me know.

A contact at the embassy here in DC suggested Indonesia Relief USA for those who are stateside and want to help out with a donation.

I’ve visited many sites of former (or ongoing like Sidoarjo..) disasters in Indonesia, including Banda Aceh, Pangandaran and Bukit Lawang.  Indonesia has faced far, far, far, far more disasters than it deserves, but the people are resilient and strong, so I know that with assistance, those affected by these latest disasters will be able to get back on their feet.

I just hope Mt Merapi calms down as soon as possible, and no more lives are lost.  And to all my friends in Yogyakarta, and all my journalist friends covering the story, please stay safe x

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