Animal rescue partner monitoring Indonesian volcanic eruption

Using skills and tools learned from our April workshop (pictured here), Animals Indonesia sent a small assessment team to the communities surrounding Mount Raung.As I woke up this morning and began checking the news, most of the international headlines were reporting that the eruption of Mount Raung was shutting down airports in Indonesia, leaving thousands of tourists stranded.

I knew that beyond causing delays in someone’s holiday, there were thousands of people and animals whose health and safety were potentially at risk.

Animals Indonesia, an organization based in East Java that attended IFAW’s Animals in Disasters workshop in Jakarta earlier this year, informed our Disaster Response team that the alert status of Mount Raung was raised from a Level 2 to a Level 3. (There are four levels in Indonesia’s volcano alert system, and Level 3 means that there is a pattern of increasing activity and an eruption is likely to happen if the activity continues to gain strength or frequency.)

Using the skills and tools from our workshop, where representatives from seventeen organizations across Indonesia and the Philippines were invited to spend five days training together on disaster management and technical rescue, Animals Indonesia sent a small assessment team to the communities surrounding Mount Raung where they met with government officials and local villagers to begin collecting information and identifying potential animal needs in the most at-risk areas.

Now that Animals Indonesia already has contacts and data from these communities, we are better prepared.

While the team is waiting to hear from local authorities if help for the animals is needed, additional groups who attended the training, which was part of our efforts to build out our Southeast Asia Emergency Relief Network, are ready to deploy if needed.

Mount Raung is one of Indonesia’s 130 active volcanoes.  While an animal response is still uncertain as human evacuation have not yet been ordered, we know that the response process has been a valuable exercise for the members of these animal rescue organizations who live and work in such a disaster-prone area.

--JG

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