Sumatra Volcano Eruption Kills More Than a Dozen in Indonesia

Image: Sumatra Volcano Eruption Kills More Than a Dozen in Indonesia

Monday, 03 Feb 2014 09:01 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Indonesia's Mount Sinabung volcano on the western island of Sumatra continued to throw ash and rock into the air after several huge eruptions on Saturday killed more than a dozen people.

Mount Sinabung, which had been dormant for 400 years until a 2010 eruption, has repeatedly spewed lava in explosions ever since, according to BBC News. Three schoolchildren and a teacher were among numerous people killed in the latest incident, emergency official Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said. Officials fear casualties will mount as they investigate further. 

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A series of blasts from the 8,530-foot volcano flung lava and rock nearly three miles away, the New York Times reported. Billowing black clouds can be seen covering the top of Mount Sinabung as farms and roads around the volcano were cloaked in ash.

"No evacuations could be made at this stage because of the potential for more eruptions," Andi Arief, a presidential staff member, told Reuters. 

Authorities recovered 14 bodies from the area Saturday after temperatures around the area cooled, Yopie Haryadi, a spokesman for Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency said.

"No one is reported missing, but we don't know for sure," Yopie told the New York Times. "Sometimes people can come and go to check on their homes. We will try to search again, but we have to wait until the situation is clear, given the hot clouds."

On Friday, Indonesian authorities allowed nearly 14,000 people living outside the danger zone to return to their homes after previous volcanic activity appeared to subside, Parlindungan Harahap, a reporter for the newspaper Sumut Pos said.

But the National Board for Disaster Management denied reports that the agency had authorized evacuees to return home, saying they had placed warning notices and posted guards at access points to Mount Sinabung’s slopes.

BBC News reported that some 30,000 were displaced and at least two people died when the volcano first erupted in 2010. Mount Sinabung is one of 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia. 

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