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Jakarta Post

As Mt. Sinabung rumbles on, Mt. Kelud fears rise

  • Apriadi Gunawan and Slamet Susanto

    The Jakarta Post

Karo, North Sumatra/Yogyakarta   /   Wed, February 5, 2014   /  09:06 am
As Mt. Sinabung rumbles on, Mt. Kelud fears rise Beauty in the shadow of danger: Farmers pick dahlia flowers in Ujung village, Karo, North Sumatra, on Tuesday. The village is located in the shadow of Mount Sinabung (seen in the background). Farmers sell their flowers for Rp 10,000 (82 US cents) per 50 flower bunch. People generally use these flowers for rituals and ceremonies. (Antara/Irsan Mulyadi) (seen in the background). Farmers sell their flowers for Rp 10,000 (82 US cents) per 50 flower bunch. People generally use these flowers for rituals and ceremonies. (Antara/Irsan Mulyadi)

Beauty in the shadow of danger: Farmers pick dahlia flowers in Ujung village, Karo, North Sumatra, on Tuesday. The village is located in the shadow of Mount Sinabung (seen in the background). Farmers sell their flowers for Rp 10,000 (82 US cents) per 50 flower bunch. People generally use these flowers for rituals and ceremonies. (Antara/Irsan Mulyadi)

While the eruptions from Mount Sinabung in Karo, North Sumatra show no signs of ending, people began to fear that Mount Kelud in Kediri, East Java could soon follow suit.

On Tuesday, warnings were circulating through cell phone messaging applications stating that Mt. Kelud'€™s status had reached high alert. The messages were accompanied by a photo depicting a violent eruption.

East Java Police Insp. Gen. Unggung Cahyono called on people to stay calm.

'€œThey should ask security officers,'€ Unggung told reporters while visiting a Mt. Kelud monitoring post in Sugihwaras village, Ngancar district, Tuesday.

He said the status of the volcano was at level two '€” alert, the third-highest level '€” and not high alert '€” the second-highest '€” as stated by the message.

Unggung added that the photo being circulated was taken in 2007 when the volcano last erupted.

Meanwhile, the Malang administration has prepared officers, volunteers and the appropriate equipment from its chapter of Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) in anticipation of a possible eruption.

'€œThere are two villages, Pandansari and Pondok Agung, in Ngantang district, Malang, located 10 kilometers away from Kelud'€™s crater,'€ said Malang PMI secretary Aprilianto, as quoted by Antara.

Meanwhile, evacuees from Mt. Sinabung in Karo regency, North Sumatra, have asked the government to implement a cash for work program of Rp 50,000 (US$4.10) per day as well as its relocation program.

The two programs were conveyed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his visit to Kabanjahe, Karo regency, two weeks ago.

'€œI want to join the cash for work program. My house, fields all have gone,'€ Saleh Sitepu, a Sinabung evacuee from Berastepu subdistrict, said on Tuesday.

Karo Regent Kena Ukur Karo Jambi Surbakti said his administration had prepared a 15-hectare plot for the relocation of evacuees whose homes were within 3 kilometers of the Sinabung crater.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNBD) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that the cash for work program had started on Jan. 26, 2014. The first iteration went to 2,000 families in 13 evacuation centers.

Sutopo said as of Tuesday, 70,476 evacuees had joined the program and Rp 3.5 billion had been distributed.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the number of Sinabung evacuees had reached 31,739 or 9,915 families. They were accommodated in 42 evacuation centers. Saturday'€™s eruption claimed 16 lives and critically injured two.

Separately in Yogyakarta, Gadjah Mada University (UGM) plans to send 240 students to the affected areas through the compulsory Community Service Program (KKN).

Irfan Dwidya Prijambada of UGM'€™s Community Service Institute (LPPM) said the students would be deployed from Feb. 11 to March 8 to help Mt. Sinabung evacuees.

He said they would be divided into five groups of 64 students to serve evacuation centers as well as other locations to help people affected by both floods and landslides.