June 26, 2006 - Monday - 7:03am (Indonesia Time) - Solo, Indonesia - Report submitted by Joe Hurston
Yesterday, it was back to Bantul, the hardest hit area of Indonesia from the May 27th earthquake. This was our 4th trip to the region. While enroute to Bantul, we had a clear picture of Mount Merapi off to our right. We kept observing it on the 2 hour drive. About an hour out of Solo, we saw a major event. Suddenly, a very fast moving, cylindrical "cloud" came rushing down the face of the volcano. It happened so fast we didn't have a chance to grab our cameras. We knew something terrible had happened. We also knew that we had to return to Mount Merapi after we finished in Bantul. Going to be another long day. (We found out that the cylindrical cloud is called a pyroclastic flow - a gas cloud with temperatures reaching 600 degrees and travelling at hundreds of miles per hour!)
We arrived into Bantul right on time and immediately set up the training for 3 Red Cross workers. We had already been out in the field with the Red Cross team operating out of this area and had absolute confidence that these Red Cross workers would reach into the most desperate areas and bring life-saving water. This is also the first opportunity that Air Mobile has worked this closely with the Red Cross. Though we have crossed paths hundreds of times over the years, these Vortex Voyagers TM were first that the Indonesian Red Cross has received. We were very grateful for this. The Red Cross representatives received the units with great thankfulness and excitement at the possibilities that the units will afford them.
Upon completion of the the training / deployment in Bantul, it was back to Solo with Mount Merapi off to our left. We watched it very closely and saw continued activity. We phoned our team on Mount Merapi and they verified that a major lava flow had occured on the South side of the Volcano. Our team is located on the north side. Our team leader, Sony, assured us that no one lived where the major flow had occured. We were thankful, yet pressed all the more to get up to Mount Merapi and complete the training with Sony and his team that afternoon.
We arrived at Mount Merapi yesterday afternoon and continued our training with Sony and his team preparing for our final presentation and training scheduled for today. They are extremely perceptive and will be excellent team members. We got to our hotel late again.
We will be coordinating our Mount Merapi First Responder team with another team of men operating out of Jogja from Rebana Foundation, a group affiliated with the Union of Indonesian Baptist Churches. We have already worked with their organization in the past. We feel confident that this cooperation will work very well for this "Life-saving" first Responder team strategically located in the shadow of the world's most active volcano. There are over 70,000 people in harm's way from this volatile volcano!
Just a quick update on what our team did on Saturday, June 24th; I flew to Surabaya and brought 3 Vortex Voyagers TM to Jim Karl's nephew, Michael. Michael saw the value of the Vortex Voyager TM and requested one from his uncle who works with TEARS International. Jim is on Nias Island and desperately needs clean water for the eye hosptial that his organization started. Indonesia has an amazing network of airlines that provide inexpensive and efficient transportation to all of the country. So I flew to Surabaya in the morning, trained Michael and was back in Solo by mid afternoon.
Meanwhile, Cindy and Barbara became very concerned about the mudslide victims on Sulawesi. They tried to get a flight, but it was impossible since the flights go only once a day at 6AM. They also presented the Vortex Voyager TM to numerous medical organizations. That evening, we demonstrated the Vortex Voyager TM here at the hotel by drinking fish pond water after it passed through our "miracle" machine. Many at the hotel were very impressed with the unit.
Well, our support team from Rebana Foundation has just arrived, we're quickly finishing our breakfast. We'll be heading back up to Mount Merapi this morning for our final training of our team there. Then this afternoon, we fly to Jakarta. We will overnight there and catch the 6:20am flite out to begin our long journey home.
Will attempt to give final photos and report on the Mount Merapi deployment this afternoon. God Bless!!
Joe, Cindy and Barbara (The Air Mobile Team in Indonesia)