Following two natural disasters, an earthquake triggered tsunami, and separately an erupting volcano, radio amateurs are providing their help as the enormous response effort continues.
ORARI (Organisasi Amatir Radio Indonesia) International Affairs Coordinator, Wisnu Widjaja YB0AZ has provided initial information about the involvement of radio hams in the dual disasters that hit the Indonesian archipelago this week.
He said that the ORARI Communication and Rescue Task Force has joined the team of the Disaster Management of Directorate General Post and Telecommunications, Ministry of Communication and Informatics Republic of Indonesia.
They has been operating in the field and provide communications support to the government and communities in the area where the eruption of Mount Merapi catastrophe at Yogyakarta province and the earthquake also followed by tsunami at Mentawai of West Sumatra, said Wisnu YB0AZ.
Media reports that at least 170 died, mostly drowned after the tsunami triggered by a 7.7 magnitude offshore earthquake struck the Mentawai islands late Monday off the west coast of Sumatra. Up to 400 others are missing.
While on the island of Java, several hundred kilometres away, 29 were killed when the volcano, Mount Merapi, erupted on Tuesday releasing clouds of hot gas, rocks and laver into the air. almost 42,000 people had fled to temporary shelters around the nearby city of Yogyakarta as the area is covered in volcanic ash.
The remoteness of the affected areas, poor communications, and the ongoing disaster response and relief efforts are likely to see the OARI Communication and Rescue Task Force involved for some time yet.
(Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman, IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee)