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Mount Sinabung Disaster Response Experts Discuss Improvements For Emergency Operations

MEDAN – The experience of emergency responders during the recent eruptions of Mount Sinabung volcano will help experts to better plan assistance for other potential disasters, such as Mount Slamet, high-level government officials and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said yesterday.

The acknowledgement came at a workshop hosted by WFP in Medan to capture lessons learned on the logistics aspects of the Mount Sinabung emergency response.

In the workshop, emergency response experts from the Government and non-governmental institutions reflected on the disaster management operations that took place when Mount Sinabung erupted between November 2013 and February this year, leaving 16 people dead and 32,000 people displaced from their homes.

In an immediate response to the disaster, WFP and the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB), supported by the United States Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), launched a six-month programme in Karo district to jointly implement relief activities.

“Every disaster is unique - that’s why it is very important for us to learn from each one carefully in order to develop better emergency preparedness and response plans,” said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Head of Data, Information and Public Relations of National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB).

“BNPB truly appreciates the assistance of WFP during the Mount Sinabung emergency response operations. We expect to use the experiences we gathered during the relief operations in Sinabung to improve our emergency preparedness and response in the future.”

The relief activities in Sinabung included setting up a logistics hub, providing technical operational support and implementing training and coaching programs for BNPB, BPBD North Sumatra and BPBD Karo district staff.

“WFP is proud to have supported BNPB and BPBD during the relief operations in Karo district,” said Nils Grede, WFP Deputy Country Director for Indonesia. “As WFP continuously supports the Government of Indonesia’s efforts to improve emergency preparedness and response, this workshop is another excellent lever to identify key challenges, gaps and achievements in the country’s current disaster response scheme.”

Located on the “ring of fire” seismic belt, Indonesia continuously faces the risk of volcanic eruptions. WFP is currently coordinating with BNPB to monitor the status of Mount Slamet, which has shown an increase in activity recently. The lessons learned from the Mount Sinabung relief operation will be valuable if Mount Slamet erupts.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food in emergencies and working with communities to build resilience. In 2013, WFP assisted more than 80 million people in 75 countries.

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For more information please contact:
Marcellinus Jerry Winata, WFP/Indonesia,