3,000 evac­u­ated over In­done­sia vol­cano

The China Post - - GUIDE POST -

Nearly 3,000 peo­ple have been evac­u­ated from their homes af­ter In­done­sia up­graded the threat posed by a vol­cano on Su­ma­tra to the high­est pos­si­ble level, an of­fi­cial said Thurs­day.

Au­thor­i­ties raised the alert sta­tus of Mount Sinabung — a highly ac­tive vol­cano on In­done­sia’s west­ern­most is­land — late Tues­day af­ter a “sharp rise” in ac­tiv­ity, said na­tional dis­as­ter man­age­ment agency spokesman Su­topo Purwo Nu­groho.

The amount of hot ash, smoke and rock spew­ing from the vol­cano has ramped up sig­nif­i­cantly since Sun­day, with lava vis­i­ble at the crater, the Mount Sinabung Ob­ser­va­tion Sta­tion chief Ar­men Pu­tra said.

Mil­i­tary based in the area told AFP that sol­diers and po­lice Wed­nes­day evac­u­ated 2,730 res­i­dents from four vil­lages within a dan­ger zone around the south and southeast of the vol­cano.

“Vol­canic ac­tiv­ity is still high to­day, trig­ger­ing tremors,” said dis­trict mil­i­tary com­man­der Lieu­tenant-Colonel Asep Sukarna.

“Yes­ter­day we wor­ried that the vol­cano would send hot ash clouds down over the vil­lages, so we moved 2,730 peo­ple to a safer place.”

Peo­ple were aware of the dan­ger and left in an or­derly fash­ion, he said, adding that there were no fur­ther or­ders at this stage to evac­u­ate other vil­lages.

Those dis­placed are now in tem­po­rary shel­ter 13 kilo­me­ters (8.1 miles) from the vol­cano.

Nearly 10,000 peo­ple have now had to evac­u­ate their homes since Sinabung burst back into life in 2013 af­ter a pe­riod of in­ac­tiv­ity.

While some were able to re­turn once vol­canic ac­tiv­ity died down, oth­ers have been forced to re­main in shel­ters.

A mas­sive erup­tion in Fe­bru­ary 2014 killed at least 16 peo­ple and sent thou­sands more flee­ing for safety.

Sinabung is one of 129 ac­tive vol­ca­noes in In­done­sia, which sits on the Pa­cific Ring of Fire, a belt of seis­mic ac­tiv­ity run­ning around the basin of the Pa­cific Ocean.

The coun­try’s most ac­tive vol­cano, Mount Mer­api in cen­tral Java, killed more than 350 peo­ple in a se­ries of erup­tions in 2010.

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