Emergency Class in the Middle of Mt. Merapi Volcanic Eruption

Mont Merapi never sleeps and put the population in the surrounding areas in danger when it is erupting. On 5th November 2010, the Government of Indonesia announced a radius of 20 km as a danger area for Mt. Merapi’s volcanic eruption. The population on the slopes of Mt. Merapi, Sleman District in Yogyakarta Province, and Klaten and Boyolali Districts  in Central Java Province were evacuated to a safe area, outside the 20 km region. In this situation, the number of refugees has increased to 270.000 refugees scattered in different camps. The eruption paralyzed all community activities near Mt. Merapi, including the teaching and learning activities at schools.

DBE 2 Schools Closed in Cepogo, Boyolali

Teaching and learning activities in DBE 2 Elementary Schools and Madrasah Ibtidaiyah in Cepogo, Boyolali were closed due to the volcanic eruption. The whole population in Cepogo was evacuated to Boyolali city located less than 20 km from the top of Mt. Merapi. ”How can we teach while we are all busy thinking about how to save the people from the hot volcanic ashes”, said Mr. Sarono, one of DBE 2 MTTs in CRC Diponegoro, Cepogo.

The Cluster Resource Center (CRC) is one of the DBE 2 programs and supports teachers in the cluster to improve their professionalism through training and shared knowledge and information related to basic education. One of the CRCs is located in Cepogo district. Mr. Sarono added that the CRC Diponegoro was temporarily closed down. Until mid of November 2010, a half centimeter of vulcanic ashe still covered the CRC yard. The facilities in CRC Room such as books, low cost materials and computers was covered by a thin volcanic ashes that entered from the ventilation.

Different situation occured in other DBE 2 area in Ngemplak district, Boyolali. Ngemplak district is located far enough from Mt. Merapi, and the condition in the district was safe and under control. The vulcanic ash poured down on the Ngemplak sub-district but the population did not need to evacuate. Even so, the residents stay alert to the dangers of Mt. Merapi.

School activities were only conducted for half day,” said Mr. Suripto, former District Learning Coordinator for Boyolali and Grobogan. Meanwhile, the teaching and learning activities at DBE 2 schools in Jogonalan, North Klaten, Ceper and Karanganom district were still normal, although some schools maintain  half-day  sessions until 9 am local time.

Some teachers from DBE 2 schools became volunteers in the refugee camps. After school hours, Mrs. Dewi S. Retnawati, one of the teachers at Tangkisan Pos elementary school, Jogonalan, and other teachers, prepared meals for the refugees in Jogonalan Village Hall which was located 50 meters from Jogonalan Elementary School. The refugees in this camp came from Cangkringan  sub-district and surrounding areas.

Emergency Class

In order to help the children from Cepogo to overcome their traumatic experience with the Mt. Merapi disaster, Mrs. Rita Astuti former Distric Learning Coordinator for Klaten took the intiative to implement an emergency classroom in Kemalang Sub-District Office, Klaten., This sub-district was designated as one of the refugee camps in Klaten. She conducted DBE 2 Reading Program activities for the first, second and third graders. Eventhough the children in the camp came from different schools around Klaten, they enjoyed the lessons and making new friends with the local children.

Post Merapi Eruption

After spending three weeks in the refugee camp on 15 November 2010, the Government of Indonesia reduced the danger area. The people in Boyolali were able to return to their houses. Schools were reopened in Cepogo and are returning to normal operation.

Written by Me for my project


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