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Thousands evacuated in Bali

The number of evacuees from the base of Mt Agung in Bali is growing as the volcano continues to erupt, raising concerns that children may be separated from parents.
30 November 2017
International Humanitarian Coordinator Mujiburrahman Thontowi from Save the Children partner organisation Yayasan Sayangi Tunas Cilik, has been dealing with the Agung eruption response since Save the Children began responding on September 25, and said preparation was underway to ramp up the local response to the emergency.

"Save the Children and its partners in Bali are prepared to rapidly scale-up response efforts and have pre-positioned emergency relief stocks, including shelter kits, hygiene kits for families, and back-to-school kits for children," Mr Thontowi said.

The head of the Karang Asem District has issued a statement declaring an emergency phase until December 10.

"The evacuation is ongoing and Save the Children is concerned at the number of displaced children in the evacuation camps," Mr Thontowi said.

"Some camps are supported by the government, but most are supported by the community themselves and are under resourced.

"There is a risk of parents and children being separated due to the evacuation, which is something we're working to address."

Mr Thontowi said there were an estimated 40,000 children in the evacuation shelters.

There arepotentially 150,000 people across 22 villages affected in the restricted zone, which runs in a 12km radius around Mt Agung in the Karang Asem District.

On Sunday a volcanic ash column reached 4000 meters and overflow of cold lava ran into rivers, requiring emergency evacuations and other safety precautions.

Agung's last eruption in 1963 continued non-stop for a year, killing 1,549 people. It also destroyed 1,700 houses, with 225,000 people losing their livelihoods and 100,000 people left displaced. There are concerns that this eruption could have a similar impact.

Save the Children Indonesia is responding to the eruption by providing psychosocial support, including Psychosocial First Aid, to children and their families in the evacuation centres, as well as distributing hygiene and back to school kits.

Mujiburrahman Thontowi is available for interview.

Call Alex Sampson on 0429 943 027 for interviews.

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