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Jakarta Post

Mount Sinabung eruption kills six


    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, May 22, 2016   /  10:52 am
Mount Sinabung eruption kills six Several people work to put out a burning tree affected by the hot clouds from Mount Sinabung in Gember village in Karo Regency, North Sumatra, Saturday. Six people have died and three are in a critical condition following the eruption. (Antara/Maz Yons)

Six people have died and three others are in a critical condition after Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra erupted on Saturday.

All nine were residents of Gamber village of Karo regency in North Sumatra, which was declared a red zone when Mt Sinabung erupted at 4:48 p.m. on Saturday, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman said. The bodies of the six people who died and the three survivors, who suffered serious burn injuries, have been taken to Efarina Etaham hospital in Kebanjehe, Karo regency.

The deceased are Karman Milala, 60, Irwansyah Sembiring, 17, Nantin Br. Sitepu, 54, Leo Perangin-angin, Ngulik Ginting and Ersada Ginting, 55. While those severely injured are Brahim Sembirin, 57, Cahaya Sembiring, 75, and Cahaya Br Tarigan, 45.

A search and rescue team consisting of personnel from the Indonesian Military (TNI), police, the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), the regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPPD) and Indonesian Red Cross are searching houses and farms in the village for more victims.

There are no details yet about how many people had stayed in Gember Village when the hot clouds erupted from Mt Sinabung, Sutopo said.

“No one should have stayed [...] But there were some who remained to tend to their farms," he said in a press statement, suggesting that villagers had defied the prohibition to return to the village for economic reasons.

Gamber village is within a 4-kilometer radius of the Southeast side of Mount Sinabung's crater and had been declared a danger zone by local authorities.

The Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) issued a recommendation that people should leave the village following it being given red zone status in Oct. 31, 2014. Gember villagers were among 4,967 residents of four villages relocated, along with Kuta Tonggal, Gurukinayan and Berastepu.

The BNPB had relocated villagers to a temporary shelter and granted them an allowance of Rp 3.6 million (US$263) per family  per year, and farmland with a rental price of Rp 2 million per family per year, Sutopo said adding that BNPB and local administration were still in the process of permanently relocating the villagers.

Authorities have prohibited people from trespassing into the red zone and increased security and campaigns warning people of the danger.

Mount Sinabung, which has erupted numerous times between Sept. 2013 and the present, is still showing high levels of volcanic activity and there is a significant possibility further eruptions of hot clouds and lava will occur, Sutopo said. (rin)

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