Archipelago

Thousands evacuated as
Mt. Sinabung erupts again

A joint team from the Indonesian Military (TNI), the National Police and the Karo administration has evacuated around 2,500 residents of Gurukinayan village in Payung district, Karo regency, North Sumatra, as Mount Sinabung continued to erupt, spewing volcanic ash, pyroclastic clouds and blazing lava, on Monday morning.

The Karo administration reported no deaths, while all residents evacuated were located in a safe area, away from the dangers of the eruption in Kabanjahe.

Karo administration spokesman Jhonson Tarigan said Gurukinayan residents were evacuated as the village, located only 4-kilometers from the volcano, was already blanketed by volcanic ash.

Jhonson said the government did not want to take the risk by letting Gurukinayan residents stay in their village as volcanic ash unleashed by Mt. Sinabung had reached the area.

“Mt. Sinabung’s strong eruption today unleashed volcanic ash, pyroclastic clouds and blazing lava, threatening residents in its nearby villages, including Gurukinayan. We evacuated them all,” Jhonson told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

He further explained that Mt. Sinabung had erupted twice this morning, at 6:14 a.m. and at 7 a.m. local time.

The first eruption, which was more powerful than the second, spewed volcanic ash 4,000-meters into the sky, followed by hot clouds and blazing lava that flowed as far as 1,000 meters from the peak of the volcano.

Jhonson said Gurukinayan residents panicked when the first eruption occurred as the village was located outside the danger zone.

“It was the first village beyond the 3-kilometer radius that was evacuated,” said Jhonson.

“This shows Mt. Sinabung’s eruptions have become even worse as the volcanic ash has reached villages outside the danger zone.”

Since the volcano’s initial eruption two weeks ago, the Karo administration has evacuated residents in five villages, four of which are located inside the radius of 3-kilometers: Bekerah, Mardinding, Simacem and Suka Meriah. (ebf)

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