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As Mt. Sinabung rumbles on, Mt. Kelud fears rise

Publication Date : 05-02-2014

 

While the eruptions from Mount Sinabung in Karo, North Sumatra show no signs of ending, people began to fear that Mount Kelud in Kediri, East Java could soon follow suit.

On Tuesday, warnings were circulating through cell phone messaging applications stating that Mt. Kelud’s status had reached high alert. The messages were accompanied by a photo depicting a violent eruption.

East Java Police Insp. Gen. Unggung Cahyono called on people to stay calm.

“They should ask security officers,” Unggung told reporters while visiting a Mt. Kelud monitoring post in Sugihwaras village, Ngancar district, Tuesday.

He said the status of the volcano was at level two — alert, the third-highest level — and not high alert — the second-highest — as stated by the message.

Unggung added that the photo being circulated was taken in 2007 when the volcano last erupted.

Meanwhile, the Malang administration has prepared officers, volunteers and the appropriate equipment from its chapter of Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) in anticipation of a possible eruption.

“There are two villages, Pandansari and Pondok Agung, in Ngantang district, Malang, located 10 kilometers away from Kelud’s crater,” said Malang PMI secretary Aprilianto, as quoted by Antara.

Meanwhile, evacuees from Mt. Sinabung in Karo regency, North Sumatra, have asked the government to implement a cash for work program of 50,000 rupiah (US$4.10) per day as well as its relocation programme.

The two programmes were conveyed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his visit to Kabanjahe, Karo regency, two weeks ago.

“I want to join the cash for work programme. My house, fields all have gone,” Saleh Sitepu, a Sinabung evacuee from Berastepu subdistrict, said on Tuesday.

Karo Regent Kena Ukur Karo Jambi Surbakti said his administration had prepared a 15-hectare plot for the relocation of evacuees whose homes were within 3 kilometres of the Sinabung crater.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNBD) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that the cash for work programme had started on Jan 26, 2014. The first iteration went to 2,000 families in 13 evacuation centres.

Sutopo said as of Tuesday, 70,476 evacuees had joined the programme and 3.5 billion rupiah had been distributed.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the number of Sinabung evacuees had reached 31,739 or 9,915 families. They were accommodated in 42 evacuation centres. Saturday’s eruption claimed 16 lives and critically injured two.

Separately in Yogyakarta, Gadjah Mada University (UGM) plans to send 240 students to the affected areas through the compulsory Community Service Program (KKN).

Irfan Dwidya Prijambada of UGM’s Community Service Institute (LPPM) said the students would be deployed from February 11 to March 8 to help Mt. Sinabung evacuees.

He said they would be divided into five groups of 64 students to serve evacuation centers as well as other locations to help people affected by both floods and landslides.

 

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