After about 400 years of silence, the Sinabung volcano in North Sumatra, Indonesia, has erupted twice in the last five years. The first time was on 27 August 2010. The eruptions lasted for two days, and resulted in no casualties. The second, ongoing eruption period began on 15 September 2013. Since then, eruptions have caused the deaths of at least 45 people, 31 of whom were staying in poorly managed temporary shelters. About 30,000 people have been evacuated out of the danger zone. Yet the formal response system remains weak. LEARN (an NGO) reports that the shelters lack basic water and sanitation facilities, and provide little privacy.
The Indonesian media and the public blame the government. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono finally paid a visit to Sinabung in January this year. But public dissatisfaction has risen since the violent eruption of Kelud volcano on 13 February, with the general public and politicians criticising the president for responding more promptly to the Kelud eruption, because the volcano is located on Java, the island where the majority of voters live.
… Jonatan A. Lassa is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
Last updated on 30/11/-0001