Vol­cano rat­tles is­land as quake aid trick­les in

China Daily (Canada) - - HOLIDAY -

JAKARTA, In­done­sia — A vol­cano erupted on Wed­nes­day morn­ing on the same cen­tral In­done­sian is­land as an ear­lier earth­quake and au­thor­i­ties warned planes about vol­canic ash in the air.

Mount Sop­utan in North Su­lawesi prov­ince spewed ash 6,000 me­ters into the sky on Wed­nes­day morn­ing. No evac­u­a­tions were im­me­di­ately or­dered but lo­cal dis­as­ter agency of­fi­cials had dis­trib­uted masks to res­i­dents, of­fi­cials said.

A gov­ern­ment vol­ca­nol­o­gist said it’s pos­si­ble the erup­tion was ac­cel­er­ated by the mag­ni­tude 7.5 earth­quake in Cen­tral Su­lawesi on Fri­day.

“It could be that this earth­quake trig­gered the erup­tion, but the di­rect cor­re­la­tion has yet to be seen as there had been an in­crease in the Mount Sop­utan ac­tiv­ity,” Kas­bani, the head of In­done­sia’s Vol­canol­ogy and Ge­ol­ogy Dis­as­ter Mit­i­ga­tion agency, told on­line news por­tal Tempo.

Kas­bani, who uses one name, said vol­canic ac­tiv­ity had been in­creas­ing at Sop­utan since Au­gust and be­gan surg­ing on Mon­day.

An ex­clu­sion zone has been de­clared 4 km from the crater and ex­tended to 6.5 km for the ar­eas south­west of the crater, said Su­topo Purwo Nu­groho, spokesman for the na­tional dis­as­ter man­age­ment agency.

Planes were warned of the ash clouds be­cause vol­canic ash is haz­ardous en­gines.

Mean­while, the death toll from Fri­day’s quake-tsunami dis­as­ter passed 1,400 on Wed­nes­day, with time run­ning out to res­cue sur­vivors and the UN warn­ing of “vast” un­met needs.

Su­topo said the num­ber of dead had risen to 1,407 around the rav­aged sea­side city of Palu, and 519 bod­ies had been al­ready buried.

Au­thor­i­ties set a ten­ta­tive dead­line of Fri­day to find any­one still trapped un­der rub­ble, at which point — a week af­ter this dev­as­tat­ing dou­ble dis­as­ter — the chances of find­ing sur­vivors will dwin­dle to al­most zero.

Ac­cord­ing to for the their UN’s humanitarian of­fice al­most 200,000 peo­ple need ur­gent help, among them tens of thou­sands of chil­dren, with about 66,000 homes de­stroyed or dam­aged by the quake and the tsunami it spawned.

Aid was slowly mak­ing its way into ar­eas dev­as­tated by the twin dis­as­ters, with one neigh­bor­hood’s res­i­dents clap­ping, cheer­ing and high­fiv­ing in their ex­cite­ment on Wed­nes­day at see­ing a stopped truck laden with sup­plies.

“I’m so happy,” said Heruwanto, 63, who goes by one name. He was clutch­ing a box of in­stant noo­dles. “I re­ally haven’t eaten for three days.”

MOHD RAS­FAN / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A mother con­soles her son out­side a makeshift camp for the earth­quake and tsunami vic­tims in Palu in In­done­sia’s Cen­tral Su­lawesi on Wed­nes­day.

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