Following a series of eruptions of Mount Agung volcano in Indonesia’s island of Bali since late September, the European Commission is making available 100 000 EUR (approx. IDR 1.6 billion) to deliver emergency relief assistance to the most affected families. The aid will directly benefit 11 000 people in some of the worst-hit districts of Bangli, Buleleng, Gianyar, and Karangasem.
This EU funding supports the Indonesian Red Cross Society (locally known as Palang Merah Indonesia or PMI) in delivering much-needed assistance to the most vulnerable populations, in particular the displaced families currently living in camps. The aid includes the provision of shelter materials, safe drinking water, hygiene and baby kits, latrines, masks, and health care services. To ensure safe evacuations of local communities in times of eruption, early warning messages and awareness-raising activities are also being delivered. In addition, the initiative supports the restoration and maintenance of contacts amongst those whose family members have been separated as a result of the event. The funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The increased seismic activity on the island of Bali has so far resulted in the evacuation of more than 66 000 people in at risk zones to over 220 temporary settlements, and forced a series of temporary closures of airports in and around the island. An eight-kilometre exclusion zone has also been imposed.
Mount Agung’s alert status was first raised back in September after a surge in seismic activity indicating a high probability of an eruption had been reported, triggering over 150 000 people to be evacuated. Seismic activity had since declined, but on 27th November, the alert status was raised again to Level IV, the highest in Indonesia’s four-tier volcano alert system, as the volcano continued to spew large plumes of volcanic ashes.
Background The European Union together with its Member States is the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity towards people in need around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises. The European Commission through its European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) helps over 120 million victims of conflicts and disasters every year. For more information, please visit ECHO’s website.
The European Commission has signed a €3 million humanitarian contribution agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.
The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The contribution agreement between the IFRC and ECHO enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of €3 million.