Erupting volcano in Java threatens thousands of people and animals

Mt. Kelud, an active volcano on the island of Java. c. COPWhen Mt. Kelud, a 5,679-foot-high volcano on the island of Java, erupted yesterday, it forced the immediate evacuation of nearby villages. According to news reports, up to 36 villages situated six miles from the crater are in danger and 200,000 people are being asked to leave. Due to the hot ash and gas, many animals have already perished from starvation, dehydration and respiratory illnesses.

IFAW program officer Jennifer Gardner is on her way to Java and will start working with local group COP (Centre for Orangutan Protection) on Sunday to help evacuate and provide food for the impacted animals. (Note: The Centre for Orangutan Protection has responded because it has animal expertise, but no orangutans are in danger.)

Our goal is to provide aid to as many animals as possible.

Responding to Mt. Kelud’s eruption was a change of plans. After several months of tremors and eruptions, including one at the beginning of the month that killed at least 16 people, we had been closely monitoring the situation at a volcano on nearby Sumatra Island named Mt. Sinabung.

The Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) deployed a team to the affected villages and had been feeding animals left behind there. Founder Hardi Baktiantoro had reported that many animals had already died, but there were still dogs, cats and chickens/ducks roaming.

Baktiantoro requested IFAW’s assistance with their efforts there before the Mt. Kelud eruption. Depending on the length of time needed to respond in Java and the evolving situation in Sumatra, IFAW may be responding to the two disasters back-to-back.

--SW

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