Blankets of volcanic ash from Mount Sinabung in Tanah Karo regency, North Sumatra, have spread to Langkat regency, causing limited visibility in Sei Bingei district.
'Since the eruptions on Dec. 31, the volcanic ash cloud has continued to spread and it has now reached Langkat,' Suranta Sitepu, the head of Telagah village, Sei Bingei district, said on Sunday as quoted by Antara news agency.
The worst ash shower ever recorded occurred on Saturday, during which thick ash blanketed Telagah and other villages in Sei Bingei district from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. local time. As a result, visibility was reduced to only 15 meters.
Suranta instructed local residents, as well as evacuees in shelters, to wear masks whenever they planned to go outside.
'It is hoped that everyone will wear the masks to prevent them from becoming ill with respiratory infections,' he said, adding that evacuees were advised to remain at the shelters as the eruptions from Mt. Sinabung had continued to increase during the past several days.
'The Sinabung eruptions are intensifying; this can be seen from the volcanic ash that has reached Sei Bingei,' Suranta said, adding that local health posts needed to be proactive in providing health services to local people and evacuees. ( ebf )