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American Red Cross Responds to Multiple Disasters in Indonesia
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By Caitlin Cobb, American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter
November 10, 2010

Following a series of devastating disasters – an earthquake, tsunami and repeated volcanic eruptions – thousands of Indonesian people from Java to Sumatra are unable to return home and are relying on critical assistance from the Red Cross to cope with and recover from their losses.

Mount Merapi, located in central Java, first erupted on October 25. The volcano’s menacing effects continued throughout the week, culminating in another major eruption on November 5. More than 100 individuals are estimated to have died, and more than 200,000 have been affected.

The Indonesian Red Cross is assisting the survivors who live near Mount Merapi by supplying temporary shelter and blankets as well as providing three meals a day and attending to the injured at mobile clinics. The most recent eruptions have forced the displaced residents to move even further away from their homes to escape danger.

In another part of the country, a 7.7 magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami that rushed into the shore of the Mentawai Islands on October 25. The nine foot wave off the Western coast of Sumatra swept away hundreds of homes and caused the displacement of more than 15,000 people. The earthquake and tsunami left nearly 450 people dead, 400 injured and 100 reported missing.

The collective global Red Cross network aims to support the Indonesian Red Cross in assisting the 28,000 people that have been affected by all the recent disasters throughout the next six months. Red Cross workers will focus on providing temporary shelter, food and clean water to the affected residents of Indonesia. The Red Cross also aims to reconnect separated families and help address their emotional and psychological needs following these tragic disasters.

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