Since Mount Sinabung’s volcanic eruption in northern Sumatra last September, Action Against Hunger Indonesia has been assessing the needs of those affected and found that serious food shortages remain a concern.
In September 2013, after several centuries of inactivity, an unexpected eruption of the volcano caused the displacement of 20,000 people. Successive eruptions in January and February prolonged the emergency and worsened the human toll, which included 8 deaths.
Today, 34,000 people remain displaced from the eruption, including 23,000 refugees in emergency camps. The camps are held far from the refugee’s villages by a security perimeter around the volcano, which protected people from the deadly eruption on February 1.
Despite the humanitarian aid provided by the Indonesian government, NGOs and the Indonesian Red Cross at the beginning of the crisis, nutritional needs of the most vulnerable require further attention – particularly for children under five, babies and pregnant and lactating women. Without proper monitoring of the nutritional status of children and mothers, local health authorities will face increased challenges to avoid physical impairment and the spread of disease in the camps.
Action Against Hunger is focusing on early access to drinking water and sanitation, strengthening infant care practices to ensure the detection and management of cases of malnutrition, and practices to improve the mental health of vulnerable people. Together we will work with all actors involved to integrate the nutritional needs of infants and children in a sustainable action plan.