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 Govt Funnels More Aid as Mount Sinabung Erupts Again

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BerichtOnderwerp: Govt Funnels More Aid as Mount Sinabung Erupts Again   do 25 jun 2015 - 5:04

The Jakarta Globe, Jun 24, 2015

Jakarta. The Indonesian government on Wednesday funneled Rp 6 billion ($451,000) in aid to help more than 10,000 people displaced by the eruptions of Mount Sinabung in Karo district, North Sumatra.

Syamsul Maarif, chairman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), symbolically handed over the funds to Karo district head Terkelin Brahmana in Karo on Wednesday.

The BNPB has disbursed a total of Rp 141.2 billion in aid since the volcano erupted in September 2013 after several years of dormancy.

A string of eruptions took place in late 2013 and intermittently through 2014. Volcanic activity subsided during the first half of 2015, until the volcano erupted again on June 13, forcing thousands of people to flee from their homes.

As of Wednesday, the BNPB had recorded a total of 10,184 people displaced from the eruptions. The refugees are staying in 10 camps.

“We don’t know when this calamity will end. The government will continue to help the victims,” Syamsul said on Wednesday, according to the website of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary.

He added that both central and local government would continue to help those displaced by the eruptions meet their daily needs through the supply of tents as temporary shelters, food and medical services.

The government has also agreed to provide financial aid so people could construct new houses and build new infrastructure, as well drive local economic activity.

However, Syamsul said that there was no need to treat the Mount Sinabung eruptions as a national disaster because the local administration could still function normally.

“This is not the same with the Aceh tsunami in 2004, when the whole province was totally paralyzed,” he said.

BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, meanwhile, said that the agency was also responsible for planning permanent relocation sites for victims from neighborhoods prone to volcanic activity.

The agency also has the difficult task of finding land suitable to support the livelihoods of many communities surrounding the volcano, as agricultural lands have been destroyed.

“To look for new [living] areas is quite difficult,” Sutopo said.

“We also have a challenge of searching for vacant lands for agriculture for the evacuees once they get back to their home after this disaster ends.

“We need to comprehensively deal with the situation at central, provincial and district levels.”

The BNPB earlier said some evacuees would be relocated as soon as possible to a housing complex in Merek subdistrict in Karo.

A total of 112 units are reportedly available for evacuees. By the end of August, another 370 are expected to be built.

A total of 3,030 families have been displaced from their homes, according to the BNPB.

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