Jakarta, 10 December – Seven children were among the 43 people killed by the eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Semeru volcano on Saturday, Save the Children said today. Four of the seven children were from primary schools, and the rest from junior high schools*.
Save the Children is concerned that the deaths of the children could have been avoided if child-friendly early warning systems had been in place, this system should be covered the accessible Facilities for children such as plain languages signs and pictures instead of words, Warning Information Management should ensure to reach children and in risk reduction aspect need to listening children to get the quality information on how to reach them when the disaster happen. languages signs, agency is concerned that the absence of such systems may have contributed to the children being unable to flee to safety before the eruption reached them.
Save the Children is urging the Indonesian government to install these systems in areas at high risk of volcanic eruption, and ensure child-friendly education materials are available so that children are aware of how to use them.
Thousands of homes were destroyed after smouldering hot ash from the eruption buried villages near the volcano. Thousands of people were displaced and 22 people are still missing, according to emergency responders, who are still digging through thick layers of ash and debris to find survivors.
Local people reported that the volcanic eruption was so large that it blocked out the sun, temporarily leaving surrounding districts in complete darkness. Rain has since triggered volcanic mud slides, which has made an already difficult humanitarian response still more challenging.
Wiwied Trisnadi, Senior Humanitarian Manager at Save the Children in Indonesia, said:
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the deaths of these seven children, who were not able to evacuate to safety in time. It is alarming that in Indonesia, a country prone to volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and earthquakes, there are not have a child-friendly early warning systems available in key locations to help children better understand and respond to the hazards around them.
Together with a coalition of NGOs, Save the Children Indonesia is preparing to do Joint Needs Assessment for impacted children and their families, covering education child protection, health and nutrition and food security and livelihoods.
Mount Semeru, Indonesia’s most active volcano, previously erupted in December last year, forcing thousands of families to evacuate to surrounding areas.
* School principals at a district education coordination meeting in Semeru District, East Java reported the deaths of the children on Thursday, 9 December.