09/16/2013, 00.00
INDONESIA

Sumatra , thousands of people flee eruption of Sinabung volcano

Mathias Hariyadi
Nearly 6 thousand inhabitants forced to flee their homes . Authorities evacuate villages within a radius of three kilometers from the volcano . Yesterday morning the main eruption shot ash and lava blocking the main airport in the area. Fears of new eruptions in the coming hours.

Jakarta (AsiaNews ) - Almost 6 thousand displaced people are fleeing the eruption of the volcano Sinabung , in Karo , North Sumatra Province , Indonesia. According to the authorities - who maintain maximum alert and are monitoring the evolution of the situation - the number is expected to increase exponentially in the coming hours . Mount Sinabung is 2,400 meters high and in the summer of 2010 had already resumed activity after being dormant for centuries ( the last episode dated back to 1600) , causing over 12 thousand displaced persons and a thick blanket of smoke and fog.

Yesterday morning, at dawn, the volcano began to erupt violently tossing rocks , lava and ash , which affected the surrounding villages . Thousands fled their homes for safety in secure areas. At first the number of refugees was 3,710 , but according to estimates provided by the authorities today the number is already approaching 5,956 and seems likely to increase.

For the experts there may be other eruptions after the main one yesterday, no less dangerous in scope. The displaced people are from six different villages, which are located within three kilometers from the summit of the volcano . They are Simacem , Bekerah , Sukameriah , Sukanalu Teran , Sigarang - Garang , and Mardinding and are located in the Namanteran sub -district.

Rescuers have set up an emergency center providing food, drinks , blankets and basic necessities to be distributed to the displaced. Because of ash and lava spills, there are no direct flights to the main airport in North Sumatra , Kualanamu , with flights being diverted to other safer airports. Many flights have also been canceled.

The Indonesian archipelago is made up of thousands of islands and atolls surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, in an area known by scientists as the "Ring of Fire". It is characterized by intense volcanic and seismic activity, caused by the collision of several continental plates. Memories of the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit the region in December 2004 are still alive in peoples minds, with an epicenter off the coast of Aceh, causing hundreds of thousands of victims throughout Asia. On 30 October 2009, another strong earthquake affected the area of ​​Padang resulting in about 700 deaths. Over 180 houses were razed to the ground.

 

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