Tuesday, September 22, 2015


   Jakarta, Sept 22, 2015 (Antara) - Thousands of people in North Sumatra Province were displaced and have been forced to live in refugee camps for almost five years now due to the prolonged eruption of Mount Sinabung located in Karo District.
         Normal life of these people has been thrown out of gear. They could not make a living normally, nor could their children go to their usual schools since their villages have been destroyed by the volcanic eruption that has been going on and off since 2010. 
    The number of evacuees has reached 2,572 people, who are currently being accommodated in nine evacuation centers.
         In response to the refugees' complaints about their ordeals and the fact that they are being forced to stay in temporary shelters or emergency camps, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has instructed that efforts to provide permanent houses for the victims of the Mount Sinabung volcanic eruption be completed before the end of 2015.

         "I have assigned the commander of the Bukit Barisan military command to expedite and supervise the efforts to relocate the Sinabung refugees," he said in a limited cabinet meeting in Jakarta, on Sept. 21.
         The president has signed a presidential decree, No. 21 Year 2015, on The Task Force for Acceleration of Relocation of Victims affected by the Mount Sinabung eruption.  
    "Don't let the inhabitants stay too long in the refugee camps. I hope the relocation efforts will be completed by the end of this year," he said.
         The Commander of the Bukit Barisan Military Command, Major General Lodewyk Pusung, is expected to ensure that the work is completed within the deadline.
         Inhabitants of 10 villages located within a radius of 3-5 km from the mountain top, will be relocated to new resettlement areas.
         In the first stage of the relocation efforts, 370 families from three villages will receive new houses and farming land.
         The government is building 122 houses for the inhabitants of the Bekerah village, 128 for Sumakeriah villagers, and 103 for residents of Simacem village. The three villages were devastated by the natural disaster.
         President Jokowi reminded that the construction of new houses for refugees must be undertaken with their involvement so that they also have a sense of belonging.
         The limited cabinet meeting was attended by, among others, the Coordinating Minister for the Development of Humans and Culture, the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, the Education Minister, the Environmental Affairs and Forestry Minister, the Cabinet Secretary, the Minister/State Secretary, the Social Affairs Minister, and the National Police Chief, the Military Chief, and the head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.
         Every element of the government must act fast in order to expedite the relocation of those affected by the volcano, the head of the state told them.
         Head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Willem Rampangilei confirmed to the press that the relocation efforts are expected to be completed by the end of this year.
         In the first stage of housing construction, the military personnel of Bukit Barisan regional military command have built 370 houses.
         The second stage is still going on with the construction of houses in four villages for 1,683 families.
         In addition to permanent houses, every household of refugees will receive a house and half a hectare of farming land from the government, according to Deputy Governor of North Sumatra Tengku Erry Nuradi.
         The government has allocated 185 hectares of land for this purpose and each family will receive half a hectare, he said after attending the limited cabinet meeting.
         The latest major eruption on September 5, 2015 was the continuation of the first one occurring in 2010, he said.
         He said the victims of the natural disaster need assistance, both from the regional and the central governments.
         Mount Sinabung again erupted on September 15, 2015 and spewed hot ash as far away as four kilometers from the volcano's crater.
         "The ash rain was quite thick in Brastagi, Kabanjahe, and the surrounding areas," BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho noted in a written statement.
         He stated that the threat status of the mountain was not set at Level IV, despite continuous tremors, increased volcanic activity, and the potential for a big eruption.
         The people living within a radius of seven kilometers southward and southeastward and six kilometers eastward have been evacuated, and their basic needs have been met, including schooling for children.
         Legislator Dr Junimart  Girsang of the PDIP party has urged the government to tackle the refugee problem comprehensively. 
    "It needs comprehensive handling, both at the central and local levels,"  Junimart  Girsang  said after visiting the refugees last August.
         The refugees are longing for permanent solution to their problems, he noted. They need houses and agricultural land so they could live normally again.
         Mount Sinabung had been inactive for 400 years, but since coming back to life in 2010, it has erupted sporadically.
         More than 30,000 people across 34 villages were displaced from September 2013 to February 2014 as a result of the eruptions of the 2,600-meter-high mountain. ***4***
(f001/INE/B003) 22-09-2015 23:11:52

No comments:

Post a Comment