On 15 September 2013, Mt Sinabung erupted for the first time since 2010. The volcano had previously been dormant for more than 400 years. Mt Sinabung has now been active for almost five months, and on 11 January 2014 volcanic ash reached as far as Medan, the capital of North Sumatra. An eruption on 1 February 2014 killed 15 people, devastated thousands of crops, and destroyed hundreds of buildings, including houses, schools and government offices. There are currently over 30,000 people living in 42 evacuation shelters, where access to sanitation, clean water and electricity is a huge problem. A powerful Sinabung volcano eruption has damaged forest, agricultural production, water pumps, forests, and livestock in North Sumatra, Indonesia. More than 2,000 hectares of agricultural crops have been damaged by the eruption, ruining harvests and causing devastating losses to local urban poor particularly farmers. The Mount Sinabung eruptions in Karo regency have not only had an adverse impact on the local economy, but also on the endangered species wildlife surviving around the mountain as well as the traditional customs of the surrounding communities.
In Indonesia, we are blessed with some of the most productive forest and farmland in the world. The forest and agricultural sector has a critical role for the economy because of its significant contribution to economic growth, foreign exchange earnings, and in achieving food security. The ongoing disaster has already destroyed the forest and several hectares of agricultural land in the regency, which is widely known as a vegetable and fruit producer. Most of the ruined fields are located in eruption-affected villages whose residents have been evacuated, including Bekerah, Gurukinayan, Mardinding, Simacem and Suka Meriah. “The eruption was destructive. Yet it created a green and sustainable future for the area and nationally”, said Yunita Kopjanski, the alumni US college and Agricultural University, an environmentalist and environmental observer that concerned sustainable future in Indonesia.
In response to this volcano eruptions and in order to increase the urban poor’s resilience to the effects of Mount Sinabung volcano eruptions, Yunita Kopjanski pioneered the YES2DO project. Her approach for this project is innovative, holistic and environmentally sustainable practices. This project empowers children, youth, women and indigenous people to participate in sustainable mountain development and sustainable farming practices. The YES2DO has been working together with local communities and volunteers for seeds planting. It also helps refugees and local community to restore their land and provides many different job opportunities especially for women there. These seeds will be used for the lands that have been damaged by the volcanic eruptions. In addition to this, the project’s goal in the future is to build the sustainable water pump that will provide sustainable clean water for the communities and mountain farms in the affected area. Working together we can save the land that sustains us in Indonesia. Follow YES2DO on tweeter: @ YES2SUSTAINABLE.