A volcanic eruption in Indonesia is intensifying
More than 22,000 people have been evacuated from Mount Sinabung area
No casualties have been reported
Authorities considering expanding "danger zone" if eruptions get bigger
A volcanic eruption in Indonesia that has displaced more than 22,000 people is intensifying, local authorities say.
Mount Sinabung, which began spewing gas in September after a three-year slumber, has erupted over 220 times this week.
The hot ashes and smoke have caused pyroclastic flows – a fast-moving mass of gas and rocks – to stretch to seven kilometers down the southeast slope of the 2,600 meter (8,530 foot) mountain in North Sumatra. Last week, flows reached three kilometers.
The local government is still able to cope with the disaster, and no casualties have been reported according to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia’s national agency for disaster management.
The government has evacuated more than 22,000 people to 34 temporary camps.
However one area, housing at least 1,000 residents, still lacks necessary provisions and shelter.
The displaced say they have urgent need for baby formula, clean water and gas, said local aid coordinator in Jambur Siabang-abang.
A national emergency hasn’t been declared, but the government is prepared for the “worst case scenario.”
In case of bigger eruptions, the danger zone would be extended to a radius of 10 kilometers from 5 to 7 kilometers currently.
If the zone is enlarged, Nugroho estimates that 59,000 people would have to be evacuated.
Kathy Quiano in Jakarta, Indonesia contributed to this report.