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Jakarta Post

After eight years of volcanic activity, Sinabung harming children's welfare

  • Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

Medan   /   Sun, April 15, 2018   /   04:22 pm
After eight years of volcanic activity, Sinabung harming children's welfare Schoolchildren walk to Sipandak elementary school in Tiga Pancur village in Karo, North Sumatra on Feb. 19, as thick volcanic ash clouds rise into the air following another eruption at Mount Sinabung. (Agence France -Presse/Anto Sembiring)

The impact of the regular eruptions at Mount Sinabung, North Sumatra, in the last eight years has been detrimental to the welfare of the 12,000 children living near the volcano, a number of organizations have said.

On Sunday morning, the volcano in Karo regency erupted again, emitting volcanic ash as high as 1 kilometer, followed by tremors. 

The head of the monitoring post at Mt. Sinabung, Armen Putera, said volcanic activity was recorded as high, so he estimated the villagers would experience more eruptions in the coming months.

Yayasan Sheep director, Andreas Subiyono, who also sits on the board of the Sinabung Advocacy Forum, said at least 12,000 children lived in the 27 villages around the volcano.

“Karo could experience a lost generation if we don’t do anything about the children’s welfare,” he said in a discussion held on Sunday.

Pastor Darmais Sembiring, the head of the Disaster Mitigation Commission of the Protestant Batak Church in the regency, said there was a 1.5-year-old boy suffering from lung disease due to inhaling volcanic ash. The boy is under intensive care at a hospital, he said.

The head of Karo’s logistics and emergency department at the Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency, Natanael Peranginangin, said separately that the administration was aware of the situation.

“We implemented several programs to tackle health and educational problems arising from Sinabung's eruptions. But we admit that they have not achieved optimum results,” he said recently. He added the regional administration had never designated resources to assist the children because of the administration's lack of funds. (evi)