The Jakarta Post
Authorities are applying rotating closures of roads leading to Mount Sinabung in the Karo regency, North Sumatra, to protect local residents from pyroclastic clouds, hot lava flows and volcanic ash in case the volcano erupts, the Karo Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) has said.
BPBD Karo secretary Jhonson Tarigan said the rotating road closures were imposed for the safety of the local residents as the intensity of Mt. Sinabung's disturbances have been quite high during the last several days.
Moreover, he said, the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) had increased Mt. Sinabung's alert status from 'siaga' or alert level 3 to 'awas' (danger, or the highest level) as of 11 p.m. local time on June 2.
'Local residents living in areas within a radius of 7 kilometers of the south and southeast sides of Mt. Sinabung must be able to be evacuated to safer places once the emergency situation occurs,' said Jhonson.
According to BPBD Karo, among the roads located in areas considered dangerous and in need of rotating closures are Jl. Raya Simpang Guru Kinayan, Simpang Sibintun, the Lau Bunaken Tiga Pancur bridge, Ojo Lali, Tiga Pancur, Simpang Beganding and Perjumaan Tiga Bogor.
Safety separators have been installed along the roads so that residents can be more aware when travelling in the areas considered dangerous.
'The Karo administration via the BPBD, the National Police, the Indonesian Military and the Public Order Agency have evacuated 2,753 residents from Tiga Pancur and Pintu Besi villages in Simpang Empat district to safer locations in Kabanjahe,' said Jhonson.
Earlier, the PVMBG announced that the volume of Mt. Sinabung's lava dome had increased to more than 3 million cubic meters and was in unstable condition.
With this condition, the agency said, Mt. Sinabung had the potential to release hot lava flows followed by pyroclastic clouds to areas off its south and southeast sides, reaching as far as seven kilometers.
With the increased alert status, the PVMBG said residents who were living in areas within a radius of seven kilometers to the south and southeast of Sinabung were to be immediately evacuated to safer places.
Residents of seven villages, namely Bekerah, Berastepu, Gamber, Gurukinayan, Kutatengah, Simacem, Sukameriah and Sibintun hamlet, are recommended for evacuation. (ebf)(++++)
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