Free Press Journal

7 dead after volcano erupts in western Indonesia


Gamber (Indonesia): The death toll in the eruption of a volcano in western Indonesia rose to seven today, with two other people in critical condition, as an official warned of more eruptions.

Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province blasted volcanic ash as high as three kilometers into the sky yesterday, said National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. He said ash tumbled down the slopes as far as 4.5 kilometers westward into a river.

All the victims of the eruption were working on their farms in the village of Gamber, about four kilometers away from the slope, or within the danger area.

Photos taken today showed evidence of pyroclastic flows a fast-moving cloud of hot volcanic gases, rocks and ash in the village. Dead and injured animals were lying on the ground, around them scorched homes and smoky vegetation. Soldiers were setting up roadblocks and people were carrying their belongings and leading farm animals to safety.

Nata Nail, an official at the local Disaster Management Agency, said a man died today at a hospital, leaving two other victims in critical condition.

Rescuers including soldiers, police, and personnel from disaster combating agencies, as well as volunteers and villagers, halted search operations around the area after they found there were no more victims or villagers inside the danger zone, Nail said.

Earlier today, security personnel blocked some villagers who wanted to enter the village to take their abandoned belongings.

Nugroho warned of more potential eruptions, with volcanic activity still high at the mountain. Mount Sinabung had been dormant for four centuries before reviving in 2010, killing two people. An eruption in 2014 killed 16 people.

Sinabung is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin. (AP)