Hundreds evacuated from Indonesia’s volcano eruption

JAKARTA — Indonesia is evacuating hundreds of people from Palue Island of East Nusa Tenggara in central parts of Indonesia as Mount Rokatenda has erupted in the island, killing six people, an official said yesterday. As many as 511 people have been displaced by boats from the island to secure places as the volcano eruption continues, according to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of national disaster management and mitigation agency (BNPB).

“Since Saturday the evacuation of people living near Mount Rokatenda in the island has been carried out. They were evacuated to outside the Palue, to Maumere,” Sutopo told Xinhua by phone.

Mount Rokatenda has erupted since October 2012 and the eruption escalated on Saturday, spewing ashes by up to 2 000 metres high along with rocks and other volcanic materials, Surono, head of volcanology agency, told Xinhua.

The displaced people took shelters in makeshift tents and government office buildings, he said.
The agency has distributed over 20 000 masks and sent foods, 500 family kits, and 1 000 blankets, as well as other emergency relief needs, according to Sutopo.

Surono said that an evacuation zone of three kilometres from the crater was already put in place.
He said over 3 000 people had been evacuated from the dangerous zone months ago, but some of them returned to their place.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago country and laid on a quake-hit zone so called “the Pacific Ring of Fire”, is homed by 129 active volcanoes that have often erupted and killed hundreds of people, displacing tens of thousands. — AP

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