08/30/2010, 00.00
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30 thousand displaced by new eruption in Sumatra

by Mathias Hariyadi
This morning a column of smoke and ash 2 thousand meters high. Further 8 000 people transferred from the slopes of Mount Sinabung. A man dies from breathing problems caused by airborne ash. Lava flow expected. Indonesia has over 500 active volcanoes.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - More eight thousand people have fled the slopes of Mount Sinabung after a new volcanic eruption in northern Sumatra, bringing the total to at least 30 000 displaced persons.

The volcano was dormant for 400 years, but for the past two days it has continued to emit smoke and ash and many expect possible lava floods. This morning, the eruption occurred at 6.30 (local time), creating a massive column of smoke 2,000 feet high at least. At least 31 villages six kilometers from the mouth of the crater were evacuated. Mount Sinabung is located in North Sumatra province, 1300 km northwest of Jakarta.

The National Civil Protection is advising residents and displaced people to wear masks. In fact a man died from breathing problems because of the ashes scattered in the atmosphere.

Volcanologists have had to admit little knowledge of the characteristics of Sinabung Mountain, since it’s remained dormant for a long time.

Indonesia is considered the area with the highest number of active volcanoes in the world: at least 500, of which 68 are the most dangerous because they are situated in populated areas like Java and Sumatra.

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