Aid agency says crowded shelters and ongoing exposure to rain, volcanic ash creating difficult living conditionsMOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia, October 29, 2010 --
More and more children are suffering from diseases caused by the harsh environment, lack of rest and the crowded conditions of the emergency shelters around Mount Merapi, said World Vision
. The volcanic ash and rain that continues to fall makes children particularly vulnerable to disease. As more people arrive in the overcrowded evacuation centers, the possibility for disease has aid agencies like World Vision concerned.
“My daughter got sick this morning with a fever and cold,” said Sukiyem, the mother of a 6-year-old girl named Lia. Lia is just one of many children who have become sick after staying in an evacuation center over the past several nights. “There are already children here who have fevers and coughs and diarrhea,” Sukiyem added.
Lia and more than 1,500 people from Glagaharjo village have been evacuated to several evacuation centers in Sleman District after the local government ordered a preemptive evacuation last Sunday due to Merapi’s increased volcanic activity. Assessment data shows more than 57,000 people have been evacuated to 53 evacuation centers in Sleman, Magelang, Boyolali, and Klaten districts following the disaster.
"Rains from the last two nights have helped clean the air from Mount Merapi's ashes, but it also made some of the children sick," said Jimmy Nadapdap, World Vision's emergency response manager.World Vision
is distributing 1,000 Family Kits containing toothpaste, toothbrushes, clothing and blankets, and 1,000 Child Kits containing baby soap, baby oil, powder, toothbrush, toothpaste and blankets. The aid agency is also opening up at least one mobile library for children and families who have been displaced.
“It is hard to stay here; life is doubly difficult at the evacuation center. My daughter and I had to sleep on the ground with only a thin mat and blanket. Over the past two nights, as the rain continued, I had to stay up all night long to see whether water would come into the tent,” Sukiyem explained.
Meanwhile, as the death toll continues to climb and rescue workers search for those still missing on the Mentawai Islands, the weather continues to hinder the relief response there. The island is only accessible by a small airplane from Padang or an 8-hour ferry trip. The rapid assessment found that the most urgent needs are clean water, food, blankets, clothing, mattresses, hygiene kits, and emergency shelters. World Vision's emergency response team is working closely with the Government of Indonesia and local NGOs and is prepared to distribute 1,000 water containers to those families displaced by the disaster.Media Contact
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