Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Air Mobile Team back to Mt. Merapi - In the shadow of a Volcano!

June 21, 2006 - Wednesday 8:26pm (Indonesian Time) Solo, Indonesia - Report submitted by Joe Hurston

It was back to Mount Merapi today. Yesterday, while we were in Jogja (the hard hit earthquake region), Mount Merapi was spewing fire and lava. Today, as we approached the world's most active volcano, things were a bit quieter. We were glad for that. This also enabled us to get very close to a small village less than 1.5 kilometers from the mouth of the volcano.

We met Sony, a volunteer from the region who has been very active in Search and Rescue and assisting in evacuations. Sony is a very experienced tour guide who knows Mount Merapi better than most anyone else. We began training him as a potential First Responder team member equipped with the Vortex Voyager TM.

Before we arrived at the village, we set up a Vortex Voyager TM in a small river and left Cindy to run the operation. Meanwhile, Barbara and Sony and I proceeded to the last village before the volcano. Enroute to the village all of the crops were covered in volcanic ash! So was everything else. The very air was filled with this destructive ash.

Once we arrrived at this last outpost before Mt. Merapi, we found precious and determined people endeavoring to live their lives with this powerful volcano at their back-door. One might ask, why don't they just move? As I looked into the faces of the men, women and children in this little village, I seemed to gain more insight into their plight. This is all they have ever known. They, their parents, their parents parents and so on have lived on this land for many, many years. From time to time, Mount Merapi acts up, as is happening now. The people have run several times from Merapi within the last few months. They come back as soon as things calm down and tend to their crops and animals.

Our goal is to set up an Emergency Response Team to help these people escape when things get hot. And hot they become very quickly. We are hoping to establish a team that, among other things, can provide clean drinking water on a moments notice from any source.

That is the reason we set up a Vortex Voyager TM in the stream just outside their village to demonstrate the Vortex Voyagers TM ability to pump very clean water instantly. Cindy did a superb job of filling their vessels as Barbara and I pressed to the closest point to Merapi from the last village.

Tomorrow, we travel back to the Jogja region to meet with the Red Cross to discuss our ideas and plan of an emergency response team equipped with Vortex Voyagers TM for the Mount Merapi area. As you can see from our reports, we're moving pretty fast and seeking the best way to get the Vortex Voyagers TM into "Life-saving" positions. As I seem to say every report, "it's been a long day, need to get some rest". So, signing out for now. Will write more tomorrow. God Bless and THANKS for your prayer and support!!

Joe and the Air Mobile Team

PS - Before going to bed, I found this story about Mt. Merapi.
It is dated TODAY - JUNE 21, 2006 - AIR MOBILE is in the right place at the right time!

Hot gas, debris rumble down from Indonesia's Mount Merapi; lava dome at risk of collapse

(AP) -- Indonesia's Mount Merapi sent avalanches of searing hot gas and debris roiling down its scorched slopes Wednesday, as a scientist warned the peak's fragile lava dome still posed a threat to thousands of villagers.

The 9,700-foot volcano has been at a near-continuous state of high alert for seven weeks, forcing the evacuation of thousands of villagers in a government designated danger zone.

More than half a dozen avalanches Wednesday morning carried gas and volcanic debris 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) down the peak's flanks, Subandrio, a government scientist who used only one name, said Wednesday.

Magma has swelled into a volatile 300,000 cubic meter dome on the southern crater, he said, and there is a likelihood that the lava dome will collapse, causing an avalanche of the hot gas and volcanic debris trapped within it.

The government has ordered the evacuation of all residents living within 7 kilometers (just over 4 miles) of the peak, but says it cannot force them to leave or prevent villagers from returning to check their houses and crops. Hundreds have refused to go.

Another possible threat is posed by rain forecast for coming days which could wash millions of metric tons of built-up ash and rock fragments down Merapi's steep slopes in powerful mudslides.

Two people died last week when hot gas traveled 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) down the mountain on Wednesday.

Searing gas clouds killed more than 60 villagers in 1994 and more than 1,300 people died in a a major eruption in 1930.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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