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Jakarta Post

No additional victims found at Mt. Sinabung

  • Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

Karo, North Sumatra   /   Mon, February 3, 2014   /  11:58 pm

Search and rescue workers failed on Monday to find more victims from Mt. Sinabung'€™s Saturday eruption following a search in Suka Meriah village in Karo regency, North Sumatra.

So far, the death toll from the eruption is 15, however, locals have reported that there were other people still unaccounted for.

The second-day search was postponed for several hours after the volcano erupted again. Rescue workers found a bag, containing a laptop, cell phone and modem, which is believed to belong to Rizal Syahputera, a journalist who was killed by Saturday'€™s pyroclastic cloud.

The rescue workers came from various agencies such as the Indonesian Military (TNI), the National Police, the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), the Indonesian  Red Cross (PMI), the Youth Disaster Preparedness Team (Tagana) and volunteers. They were only given 10 to 20 minutes to search for victims due to bad weather and the volcano's continued eruption.

Separately in Jakarta, House of Representatives member Martin Hutabarat urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to immediately declare Mt. Sinabung a national disaster.

He said the evacuees had actually expected the President to make the declaration when he visited them on Jan. 23-25.

Martin, a lawmaker from the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party, said that had Yudhoyono declared it a national disaster, then Saturday'€™s tragedy would not have happened.

'€œThe National Disaster Mitigation Agency [BNPB] would have taken over the disaster response leadership and secured the area,'€ he said as quoted by kompas.com.

During his visit, Yudhoyono only announced mitigation measures and recovery programs for the victims.