On the 27 Nov 2010, a group of students from UGM Medical Faculty has visited the main evacuation camp for the Merapi Eruption victims. It is located to the north of Ring Road Utara. After passing Casa Grande, turn left through the Pintu Gerbang Sanatadharma. Follow the road and curve towards left if necessary till you come to a T-junction. Take a left turn, and go straight. You will soon find a big stadium on your right named Posko Maguwoharjo.
Upon reaching the stadium, we were impressed by the magnificent stadium. One question poped up in my mind, how is this building going to accommodate 30,000 people during the peak period of the Merapi Eruption? I will soon find out.
(Our team members from left to right: Nia, Imran, Irene, Alia, Sudin, William, Ain, photographed by Aisyah)
The first scene we witnessed is the gathering of about 100 children in front of the main post. Their teachers were briefing them about the outdoor activities. The transportation (angkut) was ready and the chuffers looked happy to begin their fun journey of the day. This is a big contrast to my expectation. Instead of seeing sorrow and gloominess, we are greeted by happiness and cheerfulness.
Have a nice day, my little ones!
We started our ‘tour’ by surveying the venue. The posts such as logistic, health, daily needs, cloths and food are located at the peripheral of the ground floor.
Some of the evacuees are still sleeping on the mat at 9am, using a pile of cloths or some material as their pillow. While of them just sat there and stared into distance. They looked slightly bored, and had no interest to interact with their neighbours. “A potential candidate for depression”, my brained recalled, from the understanding of mental health.
Before venturing to the individual posts, we quickly went around the stadium to identify the available facility. It was the first exposure for me to learn about the “military kitchen”.
We spent some time talking to the lady in charge of packaging the rice. “We worked from 4am till 12am everyday to prepare food for almost 6,500 remaining evacuees. We are very short of helping hands to pack the food and dish. Would you like to help?”, said the female volunteer from Jakarta.
I briefly scanned through the kitchen area and counted about 80 pots of rice are cooked at the same time. It is such a big project to feed six thousand mouth, 3 times a day. Imagine the disaster when the stadium was flooded with 30,000 people 3 weeks ago.
A standard Javanese meal is not complete without having the Teh Hangat or Es Teh. The evacuees need water for drinking, washing and so on. The clean water source is taken from the available water processing facility meant for the stadium. They are also water trucks carrying water source of other region.
This is briefly the physical aspect of the evacuation camp. We will further explore the other aspects in the coming post. Stay tuned.
– UGM Medical Faculty Volunteers Team –
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