The Jakarta Post
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) set straight a number of reports in the media that have put the death toll from the eruption of Mt. Kelud in East Java at seven, revising the total down to four.
BNPB chief spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the agency had rechecked the figure with the village heads in Ngantang district, Malang regency, as well as with the local disaster agency and military personnel.
"There were victims who were counted twice under different nicknames. Now, the numbers regarding Mt. Kelud eruption victims are four people dead, 56,089 displaced and none missing," said Sutopo as quoted by tribunnews.com.
The four victims lived in villages within a seven-kilometer radius of the crater. Volcanic ash was 20 cm thick at one of the sites.
Ngantang is one of the worst-affected areas and all four fatalities occurred in this district.
Three victims died from suffocation: Pontini alias Mbok Nya, 60, and Sanusi, 80, both from Pandansari village, and Sutinah, 97, from Sumberagung village. Sahiri alias Sair, 70, a resident of Pandasari village was crushed by a collapsing wall.
In addition to thick ash, the eruption also spewed rocks with a diameter of between five to eight centimeters. Roofs were covered in so much ash that a few homes, schools and other buildings collapsed.
"Mt. Kelud's activity is declining. We only predict moderate sustained tremors. The [volcano's] status is 'danger', with a 10-km radius needing to be evacuated. People are still there so officials and volunteers are doing a lot of forced evacuations,' said Sutopo. (tjs/nvn)
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