Mt. Sinabung Danger Alert Level at “Caution”


Mt. Sinabung Spewing Smoke and Ash in Karo Regency, North Sumatra, Indonesia (Photo: 25 November 2013 Ulet Infansasti-Getty Images, Global Post)

Mt. Sinabung Spewing Smoke and Ash in Karo Regency, North Sumatra, Indonesia (Photo: 25 November 2013 Ulet Infansasti-Getty Images, Global Post)

It has been three years since Mt. Sinabung, an active volcano in North Sumatra, Indonesia last erupted.  Since its eruption in 2010, which resulted in the death of at least two citizens and the displacement and evacuation of 30,000 others from their towns and homes, the volcano had not shown many signs of action, and prior to 2010 the volcano had not been active in over 400 years (BBC News Asia).  That is, until this past September, when activity was first reported again.  Since the activity in September, the danger alert level of the volcano has been at “stand-by.”  This danger level is just used as a precautionary alert to warn of the possibility of greater activity, but that danger was not imminent.  However, according to BBC News after this weekend when ash and rocks were launched high into the air, the level of alert for the possible danger of Mt. Sinabung was raised from “stand-by” to “caution,” which is the highest alert status for volcano danger.

 

"Ash and rocks have been raining over the area near the volcano's crater" (Photo: Getty Images, BBC News Asia)

“Ash and rocks have been raining over the area near the volcano’s crater” (Photo: Getty Images, BBC News Asia)

 Channel News Asia has reported that the eruption of the Volcano In Sumatra has prompted the National Disaster Agency as well as the Indonesian government to call for all citizens of the surrounding area, within 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) of the volcano, to evacuate their homes.  As of yesterday, over 18,000 people have fled their homes since the volcano’s first signs of activity, with just over 12,000 in government evacuee camps, and many in poor health due to respiratory issues (ABC News).  An Indonesian government official, Robert Peranginangin, said in a statement to Channel News Asia that people are very scared, especially after the severe damage and displacement caused by the volcano’s last activity, three years ago.  He said, “They ran helter-skelter out of their homes and cried for help” after the eruptions this weekend.

According to an article released by the Jakarta Post when Mt. Sinabung showed its first signs of activity this year, volcanologists monitoring Mt. Sinabung’s activity were reporting that it would be very difficult to predict the severity and consistency of the volcano’s imminent future eruptions.  A member of the North Sumatra branch of the Indonesian Geologists Association, Jonathon Tarigan, announced that he feared that the earlier eruptions “might serve as a sign of a looming massive [earth] quake in Karo Regency [of Indonesia],” and this is still a great fear in the area (the Jakarta Post).

Villagers watch as smoke from Mt. Sinabung's eruptions travels through the air. (Photo: Dedy Zulkifli, CTV News)

Villagers watch as smoke from Mt. Sinabung’s eruptions travels through the air. (Photo: Dedy Zulkifli, CTV News)

The recent eruptions are not only affecting the citizens living in the nearby area and towns, but it has also impeded many flight plans from nearby airports.  According to the Jakarta Post planes with routes that normally go through or near the volcano’s surroundings have been warned not to fly over the surrounding area.  One international airport in the nearby regency of Deli Serdang has had a great deal of flights affected by the eruptions from Mt. Sinabung, and one airline has decided to halt all of its operations due the immense amounts of ash in the air and flight paths (the Jakarta Post).

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