Hundreds of thousands of victims of the Mount Merapi volcano eruption in central Java face economic and social destruction unless the government carries out a comprehensive recovery plan to help them. By November 9, the Data Communications Centre from the health ministry has put the death toll from the October 26 eruption at 168 people, with 1105 injured and 279,779 evacuated. In solidarity with the victims, the Indonesian Poor People’s Union (SRMI) has set up disaster relief centres in eight districts: Mungkid, Salam, Ngluwar, Salaman, Muntilan, Mertoyu, Srumbung and Borobudur.
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.
Fuel price hikes have always sparked widespread mass protests in Indonesia since the overthrow of the dictator Suharto in a popular uprising in 1998. However, the timing this year was special.