And still we wait, at least at time of writing, for a possible Big Bang. Bear in mind there’s a week between filing my column and holding a copy of this paper in your hand. A lot can happen in seven days, especially under a dyspeptic volcano.
Imagine a knock at your door, an order that you and your family must leave your home within the hour. Carry what you can, you may take no animals, you must provide your own transport. You have little money, one old motorcycle, very little experience of the world outside your remote banjar. For anyone this scenario would be very disturbing. To a Balinese, so deeply rooted in place, it is devastating.
The latest government estimation is about 70,000 people displaced in 237 evacuation centres (these numbers are constantly changing). Evacuees are cold, wet, hungry and distressed. The government and private groups are struggling to provide toilets, safe drinking water, shelter, food and basic household and health necessities.
The government has established a number of camps, about half in Karangasem, but many evacuees have chosen mandiri (independent) camps which can range in size from several hundred people to a community meeting hall with just a few families. Some families are staying with friends/family members. Many moved to banjars in which their grandparents sheltered in 1963. Every day new mandiri camps spring up.
Bali has always been a great-hearted place in times of disaster. After the Bali bomb in 2002 and again in 2005 after the catastrophic tsunami in Aceh, Indonesians, foreign residents and tourists banded together to raise resources and deliver appropriate support to the victims.
I’ve gathered information on some of the Ubud-based initiatives involved in disaster relief. Apologies to any I have missed.
Mount Agung Relief is a collaboration between Kopernik, IDEP, Bumi Sehat, Bali ZEN, Rucina Ballinger, Rio Helmi and Green School parents. It coordinates closely with government bodies as well as other civil society initiatives, including Agung Siaga and Bali Surf Outlets.
“We obtain data from the coordinators we have been working with in the field to identify which camps have current needs,” a Mount Agung Relief (MAR) spokesperson told me. “MAR’s core focus is on community education and policy advocacy. We also provide water filters and training on their maintenance and cleaning, distribute face masks and help communities develop sustainable infrastructure.”
MAR is also working with groups to identify and establish sustainable livelihoods, and provide education on health and hygiene needs such as building of toilets and hand washing stations, dengue prevention, ash protection and waste management.
MAR collects donations through Kopernik via its website or at Bank Mandiri, Branch: KCP Ubud 14510, Account Name:
Yayasan Kopernik, Acct: 145-00-1804889-8 SWIFT: BMRIIDJA
Agung Siaga Community is a group of about 10 people organised in pods, connecting donors with the needs of evacuees. Many camps are still not receiving regular deliveries of food, and Agung Siaga (AS) uses its donations to purchase and deliver rice, fresh produce, personal hygiene kits and much more. Team members learn of needs through the constantly updated MAR maps and other sources. “Cooking gas is a huge issue,” a spokesperson told me. “Some camps have not had fresh food for two weeks, and often they have no gas to cook it with when it does arrive. There are many elderly and babies needing mattresses to keep them off damp floors. Evacuees also need menstrual pads, toothbrushes, bedding, towels. These people have left everything behind, indefinitely: homes, animals, possessions, livelihoods. They are anxious and stressed.”
“At Agung Siaga we are very responsive, getting food to people,” says Riri, a volunteer from Jakarta. “Food costs about Rp. 10,000 per person per day, so cash donations are very important to us. We get data from MAR about what camps need food, then we purchase and deliver it, sometimes to multiple camps. While there, we make detailed field reports which MAR uses to update its logistics map. Camp conditions vary widely. Most have very few toilets. People are living in other people’s verandahs, many are in bale banjars with tarps for walls. Some of the host villages are already feeling the strain of supporting evacuees.
“It’s important to empower the evacuees going forward, so we are starting to encourage youth groups to organise transport to Ubud to pick up the food donations. We’re talking to evacuees about creating portable catfish ponds they can take with them when they move.” Because many of them will be moving; they are in camps that are vulnerable to direct damage in case of an eruption or may be isolated from relief by lahar flows.
Agung Siaga needs Indonesian volunteers to coordinate food orders and deliveries, to coordinate logistics, to make field reports/assessments and to design sustainable livelihoods projects.
Donate to Agung Siaga PAYPAL Address:
IDEP Foundation has been training Indonesians in disaster risk management since 2005. During Phase 1 of the Mount Agung evacuation, IDEP collaborated with its nationwide network of partners to provide assistance. The Foundation arranged evacuation and mitigation training that also worked at a community development level for people who were not yet evacuees but lived in very dangerous zones. IDEP Foundation distributed 390 packs of multifunctional Family Buckets containing food, masks and other essentials to 20 evacuation centers. IDEP facilitated a workshop for Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction and capacity building for representatives from volunteer organizations and groups which have been engaged in responding to Mount Agung. It also trained 25 people in evacuation camps to collect data and perform field assessments for Community Based Disaster Management, and continues to help prepare communities for disaster. Please donate to IDEP Foundation at www.bit.ly/IDEPFUND.
Bumi Sehat in Nyuh Kuning has taken in 120 evacuees who will be with them indefinitely. They are cooking for themselves in two kitchens, and urgently need fresh vegetables, eggs and tofu/tempe. The older children are in school but boredom is an issue. Donations of food, children’s games and art supplies, used clothing, shoes, bedding and menstrual pads can be dropped off at Bumi Sehat.
Rotary is providing valuable practical assistance. Rotary International District 3420 Disaster Team Relief assessed the potential long-term implications of the Mount Agung eruption. Members created and distributed instructive brochures and colouring books on social media and personally to schools and camps, and have built toilets and showers in five camps. They have distributed 1000 survival kits in light weight back packs and are fundraising for a total of 10,000.
You can donate through Paypal email@example.com or Bank BCA account #6685399996 account name Rotary Klub Bali Kuta Yayasan S/C CENAIDJA.
Rio Helmi (who is constantly in the field) and the Agung Siaga team take detailed field notes, but the situation is complicated and constantly changing which makes coordination very challenging. There may still be tens of thousands of people in the danger zone. When lahar flows begin in earnest bridges and roads will be compromised, and evacuation centres will be cut off from relief deliveries.
I know there are other private initiatives out there; these are the ones I am aware of in Ubud. Please share this information widely. If you know of a camp that’s not getting any support, ask the local coordinator to contact Mount Agung Relief or send a message on the FB page.
Copyright © 2017 Greenspeak
You can read all past articles of Greenspeak at www.BaliAdvertiser.biz
Ibu Kat’s book of stories
Bali Daze – Free-fall off the Tourist Trail and Retired, Rewired – Living Without Adult
Supervision in Bali are available from Ganesha Books and on Kindle