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Volcano forces 25,000 to flee Sumatra

Villagers head for temporary shelters as ash flattens houses

<p>Mount Sinabung lay dormant for 400 years before erupting again in 2010 (picture: AFP Photo/Ade Sinuhaji)</p>

Mount Sinabung lay dormant for 400 years before erupting again in 2010 (picture: AFP Photo/Ade Sinuhaji)

  • ucanews.com reporter, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • January 13, 2014
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More than 25,000 people have been evacuated from their homes around Mount Sinabung, a North Sumatran volcano which has erupted more than 250 times so far this year.

Eruptions on Friday spewed lava and ash up to four kms into the air, causing wooden houses to collapse as hundreds of police and military personnel led the latest series of evacuations. 

“The status of Mount Sinabung today remains alarming,” said Tri Budiarto, deputy of the national Disaster Mitigation Board’s emergency desk. “The police and the military are responsible to make sure evacuees are in safe places.”

The evacuees, numbering more than 25,500 so far, are being housed in 38 temporary shelters with aid for at least a week.

“Now we are trying to supply more clean water, which is very limited,” added Budiarto.

Indonesian press reports have recorded 14 deaths related to the volcano’s activity since eruptions in September after Mount Sinabung became active again in 2010 following 400 years of inactivity.

Caritas Indonesia director, Fr Markus Manurung, said the agency’s team of four doctors and five nurses in the area had delivered free medical care to 500 people within a 10 km radius of the crater. The government, NGOs and parishes had contributed medicines, he added.

“We hope we can have more doctors and nurses so that we can serve more people,” said Fr Manurung.

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