Archipelago

E. Java Gov. to stay at
Mt. Kelud victims’ accommodation

East Java Governor Soekarwo said Monday that he would stay overnight at the Mount Kelud eruption evacuation shelter in Kediri to give spirit to the evacuees.

He added that he would like to personally supervise the reconstruction work of residents’ houses affected by the eruption.

“The location has not yet been decided but I want to encourage the residents by staying overnight at their accommodation,” he told reporters.

Soekarwo was scheduled to leave the provincial capital of Surabaya late afternoon Monday and head directly to a resident’s house.

The governor said that work to repair damaged houses started on Monday, and added that poor residents would get priority.

He set a schedule of two weeks to complete the reconstruction work, although gave a more lenient final deadline of one month following a coordination meeting on Saturday.

The two-week schedule is based on the number of 4,000 soldiers being deployed to repair the damaged houses, with each house being assigned a group of 10 soldiers for a week. The total number of houses to be repaired is 8,000.

The provincial administration is also prioritizing immediate needs such as clean water, with Soekarwo saying he would accelerate clean water distribution to Malang, Blitar and Kediri regencies at the base of Mt. Kelud.

On Monday, thousands of Mt. Kelud evacuees from Pandansari villagers were still facing appalling conditions. They claimed there was still a lack of clean water and plastic tarpaulins to replace the roof tiles of their houses, which were damaged due to volcanic ash.

Based on field observations, Pandansari villagers had been forced to return home by authorities from a number of evacuation shelters in Batu city.

The evacuees said they were not yet ready, as their houses had been virtually decimated by the eruption.

Previously, Soekarwo announced that 16,000 families would receive Rp 100 billion of financial support, in the form of building materials, to reconstruct their houses. (yln/nvn)

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