The Jakarta Post
Thousands of villagers affected by the eruption of Mount Sinabung in Karo, North Sumatra, staged a rally on Thursday to urge the government to help them.
Amid tears, the protesters, who came from Payung district, said their livelihoods were in jeopardy after their farms were destroyed by the eruption.
Dedi Hasanov, the leader of Karang Taruna (youth group) in Batu Karang village, said they were suffering because they lived in one of the areas repeatedly impacted by Sinabung’s eruptions.
Dedi added that they had submitted assistance proposals to the Karo administration. As of today, their complaints had not been responded to by the government, he said.
“The villagers have been suffering for a long time. Agricultural activities have completely stopped since Sinabung erupted. The villagers depend on agriculture to make a living. What is quite strange to us is that the Karo administration hasn’t developed a program to help us.”
He said 11 demands, which include education subsidies, agriculture assistance, health aid, routine irrigation normalization, corrugated roof repairs for residents’ houses, routine disaster mitigation training, clean water supplies, assistance with daily needs, nutritional improvements for children and the elderly, infrastructure improvement and a public facility clean up, had been handed to the government during the rally
Karo Regent Terkelin Brahmana met the protesters at 1:30 p.m. and accepted their demands. “I will come to Batu Karang tomorrow [Friday]. We will discuss existing problems at our meeting there.” (ebf)