‘Like a dead town’: Mt. Sinabung eruptions cover surrounding area with volcanic ash

Mount Sinabung in Karo regency, North Sumatra erupted on Monday morning, covering nearby settlements with volcanic ash. The first eruption sent a massive plume of ash as high as 5,000 meters above the volcano’s peak. Photo: Twitter/@volcanohawk & MAGMA Indonesia
Mount Sinabung in Karo regency, North Sumatra erupted on Monday morning, covering nearby settlements with volcanic ash. The first eruption sent a massive plume of ash as high as 5,000 meters above the volcano’s peak. Photo: Twitter/@volcanohawk & MAGMA Indonesia

Mount Sinabung in Karo regency, North Sumatra erupted yesterday morning, covering nearby settlements with volcanic ash.

The first eruption sent a massive plume of ash as high as 5,000 meters above the volcano’s peak. The ash column was even higher than those of two earlier eruptions that took place on Saturday, which reached up to 2,000 meters.

According to Armen Putra, who heads the Sinabung Volcano Observation Post, there were two eruptions separated by a one-hour gap yesterday.

“The first eruption occurred at 10:16AM with a 5,000-meter high ash column and the second one occurred at 11:17AM with a 2,000-meter high ash column, both of them heading to the east and southeast,” Armen said yesterday, adding that the thick brown-black volcanic ash moved towards the Berastagi sub-district.

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Natanail Perangin-angin, acting head of the Karo Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD), said that the volcanic ash began to subside at around 12:30PM. Officials from the agency then went on to clean public facilities impacted by the ashfall.

Natanail said at least three districts surrounding the volcano ⁠— Naman Teran, Merdeka, and Berastagi ⁠— were covered with volcanic ash. There were no reports of any casualties or injuries from yesterday’s eruptions.

A Berastagi resident identified as Eka said that people ran to their homes and closed their doors to avoid getting exposed to volcanic ash rain. He said that while the volcanic tremor wasn’t really felt in his area, the strong wind came along with large black volcanic ash.

“The atmosphere in Berastagi was like a dead town, everyone closed their doors,” Eka told reporters.

Naman Teran district, meanwhile, was reportedly plunged into darkness during the day as a result of the thick plume of ash and dust.

Mount Sinabung alert status has remained at Level III or “standby” since May 2019, with the last eruption having occurred last June. Residents from the surrounding area as well as visitors are warned against entering villages within the hazard zone, which covers around a 5 kilometer radius from Mount Sinabung’s peak.

Military and police personnels are conducting patrols around the volcano’s red zone. People have been advised to secure their water resources, clean their roofs from thick volcanic ash, and wear masks at all times.

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