Three natural disasters struck Indonesia recently i.e flood in Wasior, West Papua, on 4 October killed 147 people, earthquake and tsunami on the islands of Mentawai, West Sumatra, on 25 October killed 445 people, and eruption of Mount Merapi, Yogjakarta on 26 October and 4 November killed 116 people. Besides, many others were wounded, and more than 150 thousand people must be evacuated. .
Many people, including celebrities, have given positive reactions to the above mentioned natural disasters, e.g by collecting donations, becoming rescue volunteers, and other good things to help victims. And others have given different reactions.
First there was the Minister of Information and Communication who linked the natural disasters with declining public moral.
Then there was the Australian Qantas airlines that blamed Mount Merapi's volcanic ash for the emergency landing of its aircraft in Singapore. This was followed by13 foreign airlines that canceled their flight to and from Jakarta, after Mount Merapi erupted again last Thursday.
Further, there was the Governor of West Sumatra who traveled to Germany last Wednesday although rescuers are still facing difficulties to help tsunami survivors and thousands of people are still living in evacuation.
But like they say " every cloud has a silver lining ", beside the above bitter reactions, there were also good and positive reactions i.e the Vice President Boediono immediately flew to West Sumatra after the tsunami, followed by President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) who temporarily left the East Asia Summit meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam.
And for better coordination of disaster relief efforts, SBY has temporarily moved his office to Yogjakarta, and appointed the chief of the national disasters agency Syamsul Maarif as the top coordinator of disasters management, thereby uplifting Maarif's position to a ministerial level.
I hope that more people in Indonesia, especially those who love to gather and protest, would do whatever they can to help the victims of natural disasters in our own country.