Indonesia on red alert for volcanic activity

By April 14, 2011

Indonesia (MNN) — Indonesia is on
red alert as Mount Karangetang wakes up.

The volcano is located in a Sulawesi island chain between Indonesia and the
Philippines. Compassion International has projects in both areas that are close enough to be affected by the toxicity
spewed by the volcano.

Compassion's Kathy Redmond says, "This
is a very large volcano. It can spew ash and poisonous gas
for quite an area and for quite a time. These areas are already plagued
with pollution and trash and other environmental issues."

Most of the residents living nearest the volcano have been evacuated. Redmond says communication with their teams is
slow. "We're waiting to hear from the
Philippines and Indonesia to see if they're doing anything to avert any kind of
crisis, putting in any kind of prevention to make sure that the kids aren't
affected, and to see if they're also evacuating the area."

Lava spilling out of the mouth of the volcano damaged several houses and a
church, according to reports from the
Associated Press. It last erupted in
August 2010, killing four people.

People are being told to stay indoors, but for the kids Compassion works with,
indoors isn't much of a safety option. Flooding
near the dumps could be more dangerous than just water. "Those dumps are toxic. We've had kids that go in wearing rubber
boots and galoshes, and the boots are melting."

Redmond says many families are faced with a dilemma. "What we have going on is a lot of flooding in
the area, in general, where we have crisis reports that are submitted and kids
are displaced. So then, you add something like this to it, and now you‘re
dealing with: ‘Do we stay in with the flooding even though the flooding is in
our house? Do we evacuate? Do we go to a
family's home somewhere else?'"

Even before the volcano erupted, Compassion project teams in Indonesia had their hands
full. "What we try to do is maintain the
program activities as much as possible until it gets to that point where the
safety of the children is jeopardized."

However, a heavy storm hit the northern part of Manado, Indonesia and
damaged the roof of the church as well as classrooms that are used for center
activities at the Bait El Student Center. Flooding continues in Medan.

What can you do? "Pray for God's
protection over the kids that are there and over their families, and over the churches
and the partners that we work with. Every day, they truly rely on God, and their
lives are truly about faith."

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