Indonesian Hams Continue to Support Communications as Volcano Stays Active
As the dual natural disasters of an erupting volcano and the aftermath of a tsunami continue in Indonesia, the Organisasi Amatir Radio Indonesia (ORARI) -- that country’s IARU Member-Society -- continues to provide communication support to relief and government agencies. According to ORARI International Affairs Coordinator Wisnu Widjaja, YB0AZ, said, ORARI members are still working in the field at the site of the Mount Merapi eruption and the Mentawai tsunami: “We are working on the 2 meter band and on HF at 7.065MHz.” He asked that the 40 meter frequency and the IARU Region 3 Emergency Center of Activity Frequencies be kept clear from regular use. These frequencies are 3.600, 7.110, 14.300, 18.160 and 21.360 MHz.
Mount Merapi -- located in the Indonesian province of Yogyakarta -- has had a series of eruptions in the past few weeks and has claimed 138 lives. According to IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee Chairman Jim Linton, VK3PC, volcanic ash air pollution is also disrupting international flights and hampering local aircraft deliveries of much needed medical and other supplies. Thousands have fled the immediate area as the volcano continues to erupt.
“We are supporting communications for rescue, first aid, medic, food and logistics,” Widjaja said. “We are embedded with the local government, the Ministry of Communications and the Information Technology Rescue Team.”
The tsunami -- triggered by a 7.2 magnitude quake that hit the Mentawai Islands -- washed away coastal villages, claiming an estimated 400 lives. Linton said that aid has yet to reach all of the remote and sparsely populated areas in the region. Widjaja said that hams are providing communications support to the Indonesian Red Cross in the islands affected by the tsunami.