On the evening of February 13, Mount Kelud, one of nearly 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia, erupted, blasting a plume of volcanic ash and debris 12 miles into the air. The intensity of the volcanic material destroyed hundreds of homes in a four-mile radius of the volcano. Officials evacuated about 200,000 people, many of whom are now returning home to see how their homes fared.
Mount Kelud is about 125 miles east of Handicap International’s base in Yogyakarta. “Our teams are doing fine, however thick ash and debris had been spewed over a large area,” says Laura Giani, who leads Handicap International’s South East Asia projects. “Three major airports (including Yogyakarta) were forced to close because of low visibility. As soon as possible, Handicap International will carry out an assessment to identify the needs of the affected population. Initial reports mention the need for food, water, sanitation, masks, and blankets.”
Handicap International launched its operations in Indonesia in January 2005, when it provided victims of the Tsunami in Aceh province with physical therapy, and psychological and economic assistance. Handicap International has extensive experience of disaster risk management that aims to build the capacities of the most vulnerable groups so that their needs are met during natural disasters in Indonesia.