The Karo Agriculture and Plantation Agency has reported that as of Jan.6, the regency had suffered Rp 712.2 billion ( US$59.1 million ) in crop losses since Mount Sinabung first erupted in September last year.
The agency's head, Agustoni Tarigan, said the losses were caused by harvest failures as volcanic ash had blanketed and damaged vast tracts of agricultural land in the area.
According to official data, 12,040.7 hectares of agricultural land had become arid due to the eruptions. They comprise 1,837 hectares of food crops, 5,716 hectares of horticulture crops, 1,630 hectares of fruit crops, 1.7 hectares of biopharmaceutical crop and 2,856 hectares of plantations.
Agustoni said all of the agriculture and plantation areas with failed harvests were located in four districts: Naman Teran, Payung, Simpang Empat and Tigandreket.
'More districts may suffer harvest failures as Sinabung's volcanic activity continues to increase,' he said.
On Thursday, Mt. Sinabung erupted again, spewing volcanic ash and pyroclastic clouds. The number of Sinabung evacuees is reported to have risen to 26,174.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to visit evacuation shelters in Kabanjahe, Karo regency, North Sumatra, on Thursday.
Emergency response commander Saberina Ginting said during his stay in Kabanjahe that Yudhoyono planned to visit several evacuation shelters and stay overnight in the area. ( ebf )