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Ternate Islanders Struggle to Cope After Eruption of Mount Gamalama

As Mount Gamalama continued to erupt on Tuesday in Ternate, North Maluku, authorities grew concerned about a possible outbreak of respiratory ailments and a clean water shortage.

Fandi Febriyadi, a spokesman for the local office of the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), said the risk of respiratory problems was increasing because residents lacked enough face masks to cope with volcanic ash spewing from the mountain after eruptions started on Sunday night.

The PMI distributed 3,000 masks from its temporary shelter at the Ternate mayor’s office, he said, but supplies ran out quickly.

“The most pressing health threat now is upper respiratory tract infections because the volcanic ash contains a lot of silica, which is very harmful when inhaled,” Fandi said.

He said much of the island of Ternate, which is essentially the volcanic cone of Gamalama, had been coated in a layer of ash.

“All the residents need face masks, especially those riding motorcycles,” he said. Read More

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