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Diocese gives masks to volcano evacuees

Eruptions from Mount Lokon spew ash rain that is dangerous to breathe

  • Konradus Epa, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • July 14, 2011
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The diocese of Manado, capital of North Sulawesi, has distributed breathing masks to thousands of people fleeing their homes due to the eruption of Mount Lokon in Tomohon.

The 1,689-meter-high volcano erupted on Monday at 1:15 pm local time. Bursts of thick gray-white volcanic material reached an altitude of 400 meters. About 1,700 people have taken refuge in a Protestant-run senior high school in the area.

“We are helping the evacuees and distributing 5,000 masks,” Father Benny Salombre, who heads the diocese’s commission for socio-economic development, said yesterday.

He said the area was still covered by the ash rain. “We will keep distributing masks as they are urgently needed,” he said.

The commission had worked out what else was urgent. “Now we are preparing to help the evacuees with tents, food and medicines,” he continued.

He called on all parishes and Catholic organizations in the diocese to also help the evacuees.

In helping the evacuees, the commission worked together with local seminarians and Catholic young people as well as Caritas Indonesia (Karina), a community dealing with natural disasters, and local government and military.

Father Paulus Sigit Pramudji, chairman of Karina, confirmed it had distributed aid to the evacuees through the diocese’s commission.

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