Indonesians resilient in face of natural disasters
Washington, D.C. – The Indonesian Embassy in the United Stated this week stated that the nation is “appreciative and deeply heartened” by the kind words of sympathy and prayers from President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and all American friends after the earthquake and tsunami in Mentawai Islands and the eruption of Mount Merapi in Central Java that followed.
The two disasters together have claimed more than 370 lives, with hundreds missing and thousands displaced from their homes.
Geographically, Indonesia is located on what is called a “ring of fire”, for its 452 volcanoes – 75 percent of the world’s active and dormant volcanoes – of which more than 100 are currently active. The country has frequent natural disasters ranging from earthquakes, tsunami, forest fires and volcanic eruption. This history of calamity has conditioned the Indonesian people to show remarkable resilience in coping with such disasters, stated the Embassy.
Presently, the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency are now doing all they can to help the disaster victims in Mentawai and Merapi, and to speedily deliver humanitarian assistance to the affected areas. The Agency is working closely with Indonesian troops, local governments and hundreds of volunteers. Our priority now is to conduct the emergency relief operation to save the survivors, which will then be followed by long-term efforts to return those affected to a life of normalcy.
In the case of Mount Merapi eruption, the Geological Agency (Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources) will continue its work in cooperation with the United States Geological Survey to monitor volcanic activities in Indonesia and in advancing scientific and technological cooperation on volcanology. This cooperation is in line with the spirit of US – Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership and reflects the close relations between the Government and peoples of the two countries, they added.
In response to enquiries from the Indonesian community in the United States and American friends who are interested to help the disaster victims, concerned individuals and groups are recommended to contact either the Indonesian Red Cross (Palang Merah Indonesia) online at www.pmi.or.id, or Indonesian Relief-USA at www.indonesiarelief-usa.org.