Archipelago

14 presumed dead, three
critically injured as Mt
Sinabung spews ash

At least 14 people were killed, while three others were severely injured when Mount Sinabung in Karo regency, North Sumatra, spewed ash again on Saturday.

As of Saturday evening, the bodies of the 14 fatalities have all been transported from a number of areas in Suka Meriah village, which is located within a 3-kilometer radius of the volcano, while three others had yet to be found, Mt. Sinabung Eruption Media Center head Jhonson Tarigan told The Jakarta Post.

Rescuers, he added, had to stop the evacuation process due to fears of more eruptions. Currently, the evacuation zone is between 5 and 7 km on the southeast slope of the volcano.

Among the fatalities that had been identified were Alexander Sembiring, student; Daud Surbakti, 17, student; David, 17, student; Dipa Nusantara, 17, student; Mahal Sembiring, 25, elementary school teacher; Rizal Sahputera, 23, journalist; Santun Siregar, 25, university student; and Teken Sembiring, 47.

The injured residents were Sehat Sembiring, 48; Surya Sembiring, 21; and Doni Milala, 60. The three of them were believed to have been visiting a family grave and their abandoned homes when the volcano spewed its ash.

This is the first direct impact of the Mt. Sinabung eruptions. Before the Saturday incident, the ongoing eruptions have already claimed the lives of 31 evacuees, as a result of various illnesses such as breathing difficulties, depression, asthma and hypertension.

Jhonson said the remains of several fatalities were transported from the area at around 4 p.m. before being taken to Kabanjahe General Hospital for identification, while the three wounded residents were rushed to Evarina Etatham Hospital in Kabanjahe to receive treatment for severe burns.

 “The bodies of the dead victims were completely burned and stiff when we found them,” Jhonson said, adding that he still has no idea why the victims were in the area on Saturday.

According to some residents, some of the fatalities are believed to be students from Medan who were conducting a survey of the area around the volcano.

Alvian Ginting, 43, a resident of Suka Meriah village, said that the bodies of four people were discovered by a villager around 400 meters from the village. Residents immediately reported the incident to officers at a nearby mitigation post in Kabanjahe.

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