In­done­sia evac­u­ates more vil­lagers from vol­cano area


Au­thor­i­ties in west­ern In­done­sia on Mon­day evac­u­ated hun­dreds of vil­lagers living near a vol­cano that is spew­ing hot ash down its slopes al­most daily.

Gov­ern­ment vol­ca­nol­o­gist Gede Suan­tika said at least 28 hot ash avalanches oc­curred Mon­day at Mount Sinabung on Su­ma­tra, one of In­done­sia’s main is­lands. There are in­di­ca­tions the crater’s lava dome con­tin­ues to grow in size, Gede said.

Subur Tam­bun, head of the lo­cal dis­as­ter mit­i­ga­tion agency, said hun­dreds of res­i­dents were be­ing evac­u­ated Mon­day from sev­eral vil­lages, bring­ing the num­ber of peo­ple moved in re­cent weeks to more than 3,000.

“They have to be moved be­cause of in­creas­ing ac­tiv­i­ties of the vol­cano in past days,” Subur said.

Evac­uees in­cluded vil­lagers living be­tween 3 to 5 kilo­me­ters (2 to 3 miles) from the crater on its eastern and south­east­ern flanks. A small num­ber of peo­ple who’d re­turned to vil­lages within 3 kilo­me­ters also were evac­u­ated again.

Je­fri Ban­gun, a 33- year- old cof­fee farmer in Mardind­ing vil­lage, about 3 kilo­me­ters from the crater, is one of thou­sands of vil­lagers who were re­luc­tant to leave the slopes.

“We need money to live,” said Ban­gun, who vowed to keep com­ing back to tend his plants.

Au­thor­i­ties have been closely mon­i­tor­ing Sinabung since June 2, when its sta­tus was raised to the high­est alert level due to the grow­ing size and un­sta­ble con­di­tion of its lava dome, then es­ti­mated at 3 mil­lion cu­bic me­ters.

Subur said 99 fam­i­lies were moved from a vil­lage on Satur­day when the moun­tain un­leashed a new pow­er­ful burst, send­ing hot ash as far as 3 kilo­me­ters (2 miles) down its south­east­ern slopes.

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