Indonesian families still hope to find relative missing in Mount Semeru eruption
For too many days now, Seniman has been looking for his son, missing since the eruption of Mount Semeru in Indonesia.
” I have nothing. I cannot afford to find my son on my own. I’m confused. Where do I go to get help? I went back and forth between the search station and the police station, âsaid Seniman, a resident of Lumajang, a district in East Java on the slopes of the volcano.
Seniman, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, told VOA Indonesia that his second 19-year-old child, Muhammad Hermansyah, was working in a sand mine when Mount Semeru erupted on the 4th. December.
On Friday, Hermansyah and two of her colleagues were among more than a dozen people still missing since the eruption that killed dozens and covered at least 11 villages in Lumajung district with volcanic ash.
âI’ll keep looking for him. Whatever his condition, I hope his body can be found so that I can take him home and pay my respects for the last time, âSeniman said, struggling to hold back tears. He wears his son’s identity card during his daily visit to the search command post.
Seniman’s wife remains in shock and collapses at the thought of her son’s disappearance. Seniman’s youngest child, an elementary school student, stays by his side. Seniman’s eldest child works outside Lumajang.
Authorities plan to continue the search for the missing until Tuesday, but the operation may be hampered by the consequences of the eruption, which include hot gas and ash.
Seniman lives in the village of Sumberwuluh, one of the areas hardest hit by the eruption of Mount Semeru, which is one of nearly 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia. It last erupted in December 2020, a frequency that is not unusual in a country on the “Ring of Fire” around the Pacific Ocean which is marked by active volcanoes and earthquakes. frequent.
According to local authorities, 6,022 residents were evacuated and are living in 115 shelters, mosques, schools and other safe buildings across the region.
Volunteers and evacuees have mobilized to sort donated food, clothing and medicine to ensure those who need it most are helped.
âWe young volunteers (are) ready to help the victims whenever disaster strikes,â said Muhammad Febrianto, who oversees a group of local volunteers in Lumajang.
The volunteers are divided into several teams and distributed to different shelters in Lumajang, he said.
âWe are working together by distributing food and clothes that have been sent here. We hope that Lumajang and all the victims (of the eruption) will recover soon and that they will have enough strength to continue with their lives, âhe added.
Lusiyati, who uses only one name and works with the Regional Local Disaster Management Agency, said only a limited number of volunteers are working in the shelters, as most have been deployed to help the disaster team. search and rescue.
âWe are overwhelmed, but luckily many residents come here to help. What makes it difficult is that the evacuees are spread all over Lumajang, âshe said, adding that a shortage of infant formula made the situation worse for many.
At least 39 people had died as of Wednesday. Data from the Lumajang Disaster Management Agency indicated that the eruption also destroyed 2,970 residents’ homes and killed 3,026 head of cattle. Forty-two school buildings, 17 places of worship, a health facility and a bridge were also destroyed.