Indonesia : Sumatra’s Mount Sinabung volcano still in eruption

Mount Sinabung in eruption

On 29 August 2010, the volcano experienced a minor eruption after several days of rumbling. Ash spewed into the atmosphere up to 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) and lava was seen overflowing the crater. The volcano had been inactive for centuries with the most recent eruption occurring in 1600.

Mount Sinabung is classified as category “B” volcano, which means it is not necessary for it to be monitored intensively. Other volcanoes, in category “A”, must be monitored frequently, the head of the National Volcanology Agency, named only as Surono, told Xinhua over phone from the province.

Government response

The Indonesian government was reported to have evacuated around 17,500 people from the region on and around the volcano. The government issued the highest-level warning for the area, which was expected to remain in force for around a week, since scientists were unfamiliar with the characteristics of the volcano, due to it having been dormant for so long. The government has also set up kitchens for refugees to have access to food, and have handed out 7,000 masks.  Over 10,000 people have been internally evacuated after the eruption, Secretary of the provincial administration, Edy Sofyan told Xinhua by phone. Spokesman of National Disaster Management Agency Priyadi Kardono said the eruption had not been predicted earlier like other volcanoes and authorities must conduct a quick preparation for emergency work as mount Sinabung’s seismic activity has been monitored intensively only since Friday after it showed an increase in activity.

Latest information
Authorities are reporting different numbers of evacuated people. Latest numbers vary from 19,000 to 30,052. Red Cross Indonesia is reporting diarrhea  epidemics in several evacuation camps, due to a lack of clean water. Red Cross Indonesia is doing a great job in distributing medical supplies and setting up public kitchens.
Complaints are growing that not all villages at risk have been reached by humanitarian aid workers. As the roads are still in good shape, local people do not understand why the aid did not reached these critical areas so far. Some people still remain in the affected villages as they did not like to leave their houses.
Police and army have been deployed to facilitate the aid efforts.
Only flights from Medan to Sibolga have been chut down. Authorities are waiting for the ash clouds to disperse before allowing flights again.

10:30 UTC – August 31 : Some villagers are reducing the risk of the volcano and are heading home again.  As people have their own risk scale, they are eager to go back to their fields to do what is necessary to spare their crops and to safeguard their possessions.
The volcano is still active, but as the smoke coming out of the crater is grayer, they y-think the danger has reduced too and they are taking the risk.
Authorities are allowing the people to go back to their homes if they decide so.

Some text : Wikipedia

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