JAKARTA — At least six people have been killed by a volcanic eruption in western Indonesia, with fears more could have been trapped by the hot ash.
Three people additionally remain in a critical condition after Mount Sinabung, a highly-active volcano on Sumatra island, unleashed a series of fresh eruptions on Saturday afternoon, disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.
“Nine people were struck by the hot clouds. Six died, and three others remain critical with burns,” he said, adding the injured had been taken to hospital.
The victims were all farming within the “red zone” — an area 4 kilometres from Sinabung declared off limits by government authorities for safety reasons — when they were consumed by pyroclastic clouds.
These fast-moving waves of hot gas and rock can reach 700 degrees Celsius as they roar down the sides of the volcano, Mr Sutopo said.
Search and rescue teams were carefully scouring homes and farms in Gamber village, where residents were ordered to evacuate in late 2014 due to the unacceptable risk from lava flows, dense ash and falling volcanic rock.
“It is not known exactly how many people were in Gamber village when the hot clouds descended,” he said, adding emergency crews were wary of the risk of further eruptions.
Many living in temporary shelters had begun moving back to their farms for economic reasons, despite repeated warnings, he said.
Tens of thousands of people have been displaced since Sinabung rumbled back to life in 2013 after a period of inactivity.
It periodically erupts spectacularly, sending columns of ash several kilometres into the sky, and sometimes claims lives.
Sixteen died during a particularly fierce eruption in 2014, and Sinabung remains at the highest alert level.
Sinabung is one of 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a belt of seismic activity running around the basin of the Pacific Ocean.
2 injured as bomb goes off at Ward Chair’s house
DAMAK — An unidentified group detonated a bomb at the house of Bhim Poudel, a Ward Chairperson of the Damak Municipality Ward Number 7, last night, injuring two people including a woman.
The injured were hit by shrapnel due to the explosion. The explosion has also caused minor damages to the house which is located some 500 metres to the east of the Area Police Office, Damak.
It was a powerful explosion and it is not known who carried it out, police said.
Those injured in the incident are Semu Rai and Tilochan Pokhrel who had come to visit their relatives at the house next to Poudel’s house.
Both them who have been wounded in the hands and legs are being treated at the Lifeline Hospital in Damak. Rai is a staff at the same hospital.
Police has started an investigation into the case. Meanwhile, the Nepal Communist Party led by Netra Bikram Chand (Biplav) has today issued a press release saying those playing main role in evicting the landless squatters in the disputed market area in Damak. It had specifically named Wrad Chair Poudel and Mayor Romnath Oli.
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