Gov't should prioritize needs of eruption-affected residents: House

Gov't should prioritize needs of eruption-affected residents: House

House of Representatives' Speaker Puan Maharani urges the government to prioritize the needs of victims from the Mount Semeru eruption. (ANTARA/Tri Meilani Ameliya/rst)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - House of Representatives' speaker Puan Maharani has pressed for prioritizing the needs of victims affected by the eruption of Mount Semeru.

“The needs of affected people must be a priority. Provide a public kitchen to fulfill their food requirements. Other logistics, such as blankets, bedding, and the availability of clean water and electricity, must also be considered," Maharani said in a statement here on Monday.

The House speaker also expressed her condolences over the people that lost their lives in the Mount Semeru eruption in Lumajang District, East Java Province.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) reported that 14 people had died from the eruption until December 5. Dozens of people were also known to have suffered serious and minor burns.

The joint Search and Rescue (SAR) team is still searching for victims around the slopes of Mount Semeru.

Maharani lauded the work of the joint SAR team comprising officers from various agencies and groups and the volunteer group that worked to help evacuate and rescue residents.

"The government along with the BNPB, National Search and Rescue Agency(Basarnas), National Police (Polri), and Indonesia Military (TNI) have worked quickly in undertaking emergency responses. We are also thankful for the participation of various elements of society that provided assistance,” she remarked.

At least 5,205 people were affected by the eruption of Mount Semeru, of which 1,300 were in refugee camps. Maharani reminded the government to make preparations to ensure proper evacuation for the safety of these victims.

Maharani also urged the government to quickly deploy heavy equipment in an effort to open access for closed roads due to the eruption. Some areas were isolated since several bridges were broken due to the eruption.

"The government must provide a solution to the problem of aid distribution. Please immediately send daily needs and water to the victims," she emphasized.

Maharani emphasized that the refugee camps must be friendly to children, the elderly, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers. Medicines and medical needs for refugees and affected victims, who choose to stay at home, must always be available as well.

"Cooperation from stakeholders, especially the related ministries, local governments, and the joint SAR team, is expected to accelerate the disaster handling efforts. The victims of this disaster should not feel left out by the government," she affirmed.

Maharani suggested the government to start working on handling the impact of the disaster, such as by preparing new housing for residents whose houses were damaged by the eruption of Mount Semeru.

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