Unknown Unknown
Nov 9, 2010

Indonesian tobacco firm’s branded volcano relief efforts sparks angry reaction

YOGYAKARTA – Reports that Indonesia’s biggest tobacco company, Sampoerna, has been involved in branded rescue efforts at Mount Merapi, has sparked angry reactions from the world’s anti-tobacco lobby.

Mount Merapi's recent eruptions have killed over 100 and displaced 150,000 residents in Central Java
Mount Merapi's recent eruptions have killed over 100 and displaced 150,000 residents in Central Java

The Philip Morris-owned cigarette company, which reportedly paid for the camp and organised emergency response, has been criticised for its logo-laden relief efforts.

News media and bloggers have called its efforts hypocritical, given that many of the volcano’s victims have died from respiratory failure.

The Sampoerna Rescue camp on the slopes of erupting Mount Merapi in Central Java, has been designated a smoke-free zone while the cigarette company’s volunteers and employees don red and black uniforms covered with company logos.

Critics consider this highly ironic in Java, where almost two-thirds of adult males are addicted to cigarettes, and where smoking is tolerated everywhere from airport lounges to children’s play parks.

Sampoerna's team is one of several emergency response efforts organised by large Indonesian corporations in response to the series of eruptions last week.

The eruptions so far killed more than 100 people and displaced more than 150,000 rural residents in the last week.

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