Background: On 26 October 2010 Mount Merapi erupted in Central Java. This is the worst volcanic eruption to hit Indonesia in 200 years. The catastrophe has resulted in over 300,000 people displaced from their homes and so far has seen 240 confirmed deaths.
What we have done: In tandem with SSR and working with the local organisation of philanthropist and entrepreneur Warwick Purser, we provided much needed aid to 5 local communities in Muntilan, Sleman, Bantul and Wijirejo all affected by the Merapi disaster. This included the immediate and vital provision of towels, mats, blankets, toothpaste, children's clothes, children's milk, eye drops, cough medicines, powdered milk and basic food rations. As soon as the government lowered the Merapi status, however, most of the evacuees returned to their respective homes only to face new problems such as the absence of clean water, electricity supply, malfunctioning public facilities and less practicable cooking facilities. Through coordination with Warwick’s team in Yogyakarta, we delivered immediate assistance, basic kitchen appliances and fuel for cooking at three locations: Deyangan Village, Soropadan Village and Sidorejo.
The next step: The success of various agencies around the world to assist communities in need is their ability to work with people on the ground that can mobilise assistance as soon as the disaster occurs. Our aim is to demonstrate the capabilities of 'clean' technology in the form of mobile solar-powered water purification and refrigeration equipment in the future. This in order to ensure that the community can continue to adapt to the after-shocks of the disaster and to potential, similar scale, Climate Change impacts in future, while also being of considerable worth to similar kinds of remote areas in the event of these kinds of disasters. We are also currently creating a 'disaster response' guideline based upon our experience which we hope will be most valuable to us and others in the future: The quicker the response in these cases, the more lives can be saved.