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Indonesia volcano erupts, killing at least 3

Two missing children also believed dead

Indonesia volcano erupts, killing at least 3

Image taken from camera phone shows Rokatena volcano erupting (AFP photo) reporters, Maumere and Jakarta

August 12, 2013

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Up to five people have died and 3,000 displaced on Indonesia’s Palue Island after a volcano erupted in the early hours of Saturday morning The victims were sleeping in their homes in Rokirole village when the Rokatenda volcano shot lava and thick ash nearly two kilometers into the sky.

“We have found three dead victims,” said Tini Thadeus, head of the province’s disaster mitigation agency. Search and rescue teams are looking for two missing children.

He also said that that the agency has allocated 14 billion rupiah (US$1.5 million) for evacuation and has distributed 100 tons of rice, 10,000 packages of food and clothes to the evacuees.

As of today, evacuation continues with the local government deploying six ships to move people out of Palue Island to various places in nearby Ende and Maumere districts.

Mount Rokatenda erupted in October and December last year, and in February and March this year. Many villagers have since left their homes and are staying with relatives.

Divine Word Father Emanuel Embu, from Maumere diocese’s Caritas, told that “we now focus on medical aid first since many villagers were injured.”

Since the volcano erupted last year, Maumere diocese’s Caritas has distributed tons of rice to affected villagers in cooperation with Caritas Australia.

Mount Rokatenda is one of 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia.

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