The Karo administration says it will immediately relocate residential settlements that are located in a dangerous zone within a 3-kilometer radius of Mount Sinabung.
In first stage, three villages -- Bekerah, Sigarang-garang and Simacem -- will be relocated to areas deemed safe from the impacts of Sinabung's eruptions.
Emergency response commander, Saberina Ginting, said the three villages were not fit for human habitation anymore as they had been destroyed by volcanic ash and pyroclastic flows. She said at least 1,000 households from the three villages would be relocated to new places.
Saberina further said the administration's plan to relocate residential settlements in the three villages had been agreed on by institutions related to the Sinabung disaster emergency response initiative.
'The plan to relocate settlements within a radius of 3 kilometers from the volcano is ready to be implemented. In the first stage, three villages will be included in the relocation plan, and the others will follow,' Saberina told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
She said several locations, including the Merek district, had been proposed as new locations for victims of the Sinabung eruption. All of the locations proposed were still within the Karo regency.
North Sumatra Deputy Governor T. Erry Nuradi said the relocation would be implemented in two stages. After settlements within a radius of 3 kilometers had been completely relocated, the administration would relocate residents living within a radius of 5 kilometers from the volcano.
Erry said the relocation would be very costly and would take time, but such an evacuation needed to be carried out as Sinabung's volcanic activity continued to threaten local people.
'We will discuss with the central government about where the best location to relocate the Sinabung victims is. The new houses can be semi-permanent, but the most important thing is they must be fit for human habitation,' said Erry, adding that the administration would not relocate the victims' agricultural farms, as these could still be cultivated once the situation had returned to normal. ( ebf )