Saturday, October 30, 2010

Volcanic Eruption

Merapi Volcanoes Erupted on the 30.10.10, 00.40am. That time we were happy celebrating Yinli’s 21th birthday. It started to rain. I thought it was normal rain when I opened the door. But NO! It was not rain! It was ashes! Volcanic ashes!!! Goodness! Never in my life had I seen this! It seems really like snowing at night! Spectacular!

All of us wore mask in the house. The next morning, we saw what the ‘snow’ does. The whole place was dusty brown, with a strong sulfuric smell. Ashes accumulate everywhere, on the roof, on the leaves, on the cars etc. People start washing their house compound but to no avail. It gets brown in an hour. This is epic! I never see snow before, but I see brown snow!

Ashes collected on the leaves

Car covered with thick layers of ash

Can't even see the road properly...

Everyone started to store food in their house. Shops closed or half open. Reporters around. Everyone planned to stay indoors. The place is so dusty that even you sit at your study table longer, you can see dust on your table.

Pre Merapi Volcanic Eruption

We were informed that merapi volcano situated 28km away from my house had awakened. Evacuation plans had been made. During volcanic eruption, what we worried the most is the heat, the ashes, and of course, earth quake. So, ambassy had gathered us and called us to pack our important documents in a small bag just in case we need to evacuate. My neighbor said that there will be ‘hujan debu’ (ash rain), some says that it happens every year, so everyone seems to go on with life.

For many days, we received messages, telling us that there will be an eruption tonight, but, everyday, nothing seems to happen. The weather went warmer. The volcanoes, coughed once in a while with small eruptions and she killed 29 people staying at the hillside. The guardian of the volcanoes, Pak Marijan was also found dead, in his prayer. However, the locals’ din’t appear to be worried.

The rest of the villagers were evacuated to the evacuation camp. I had signed up Mer-C to help in the evacuation camp. On Thursday, I took on the afternoon shift and went to Wonokerto with Eunice and Lee Lee. We shifted all the medical needs into the camp and waited for patients to come.

Apparently, the evacuation camp was just next to a PUSKESMAS (Primary health care center), so, there were no patients. We only had the other rescuer to come for medical advices. Children running and playing as if nothing had ever happens. We joined in the fun. They had no school to go, so we taught them a little bit of English.

That night, we shifted our camp a primary school, where people from 3 villages were evacuated there. We set up a clinic there. Before the doctor came, there are already people asking for medicine.

Evacuee slept in the hall, on the corridor, everywhere. They had no more homes to go back. We changed the school library into a clinic, and changed shift, went back before we had a chance to treat them.

The next day, we went to Kepuharjo evacuation camp. It was crowded there. Most of them are old people with hypertension. As we are not graduated yet, we can only help to dispense the drugs, do vital sign and record medical record. That is all we did. We had a busy afternoon and a free night. We can see Merapi mount smoking from here. That night, some Malaysian came to offer help. I saw TV3 crew here, with En Ludinata (ambassy in Jakarta), and En Jazman (JPA officer in Indonesia).