Following a series of eruptions of Mount Agung volcano in Indonesia’s island of Bali which began late September, the European Commission will provide €100 000 to deliver emergency relief assistance to the most affected families. The aid will directly benefit 11 000 people in some of the worst-hit districts of Bangli, Bulenleng, Gianyar, and Karangasem.
This EU funding supports the Indonesian Red Cross Society (locally known as Palang Merah Indonesia or PMI) in delivering much-needed assistance to the most vulnerable populations, in particular the displaced families currently living in camps. The aid includes the provision of shelter materials, safe drinking water, hygiene and baby kits, latrines, masks, and health care services.
To ensure safe evacuations of local communities in times of eruption, early warning messages and awareness-raising activities are also being delivered. In addition, the initiative supports the restoration and maintenance of contacts amongst those whose family members have been separated as a result of the event. The funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The increased seismic activity on the island of Bali has so far resulted in the evacuation of more than 66 000 people in at risk zones to over 220 temporary settlements, and forced a series of temporary closures of airports in and around the island. An eight-kilometre exclusion zone has also been imposed.
Alerts were first raised back in September after a surge in seismic activity indicating a high probability of an eruption had been reported, triggering over 150 000 people to be evacuated. Seismic activity had since declined, but on 27 November, the alert status was raised again to Level IV, the highest in Indonesia’s four-tier volcano alert system, as the Mount Agung continued to spew large plumes of volcanic ashes.
The European Commission has signed a €3 million humanitarian contribution agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.
The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the fund, which can then be replenished by donors. The contribution agreement between the IFRC and the Commission's Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations – in line with its humanitarian mandate - up to a total of €3 million.