Economic ruin haunts Merapi volcano victims

SRMI urban poor activists delivering aid to Merapi volcano victims. Photo by Data Brainanta/Berdikari

Unless the Indonesian government carries out a comprehensive recovery, hundreds of thousands of Merapi volcano eruption victims are certain to face economic and social destruction.

“One of the worst impacts of the eruption is the destruction of people’s livelihood; the land cannot be used to grow plants and economic activity virtually stops,” said Agus Priyono after visiting disaster relief centres set up by the Poor People’s Union (SRMI) in Magelang municipality.

“Without recovery effort by the government, especially in infrastructure – road, bridges, irrigation, etc – and the replacement of destroyed crops, many people will fall into poverty.

According to the relief centre coordinator, Wahyu, SRMI relief centers has not received adequate aid from the government, while government-managed relief centres are well-stocked.

The government has centralised refugee shelter and aid distribution but the refugees are spread out.


Readers can make donations to those affected by the Mt Merapi eruption to the following account:

Bank: (Bank Central Asia) BCA

Branch: KCP BCA Tebet Barat

Account holder: Tejo Priyono

Account Number: 436 149 72 14

Transfer confirmation can be obtained from A J Susmana at +62 817 654 6427.

or directly to the Megalang Relief Centre

Posko Peduli Merapi SRMI Kabupaten Megelang
Dusun Menayu RT 03/RW 02
Desa Menayu - Muntilan - Magelang
Bank account number: 6799-01-006178-53-1. Name of owner: Apriyah.


Magelang municipality recorded the highest number of refugees among the other municipalities, which was 82,944 people, on November 8.

“In the relief centre in Gondosuli village that shelters two hundred refugees and is located near the 20km volcano danger zone, the government so far had only given a kilogram of rice and a package of instant noodle for each family,” said Priyono.

The centre has also received some aid in the form of rice from nearby Catholic church, while activists and peasant group in unaffected areas nearby have donated their agricultural produce and vegetable.

“They need children's and baby food, because most of the food that people donated were suitable for grown-ups,” explained Priyono.

Foodstuffs, bottled water, baby’s needs (including diapers),soap and detergent, are some of the goods that are urgently needed

One house to shelter two refugee families

Apart from managing disaster centres in eight districts, the SRMI has also carried out a one-house-for-two-refugee-families program in order to provide more fair distribution of aid to volcano victims.

Locals who are still able to stay in their own house have also become victims that have suffered many losses, therefore they should also receive aid. The SRMI has carried out programs in three villages, involving a total of about 450 people, to help such victims.

The SRMI disaster relief centre that shelters the largest number of refugees, about 300 people, is located in Sedayu village.

(Adapted from )