Deadly eruption of Mount Sinabung volcano claims its first victims, Indonesia

Deadly eruption of Mount Sinabung volcano claims its first victims, Indonesia

Indonesian Mount Sinabung volcano claimed its first victims due to a direct effect of the eruption. At least 14 people were reported killed and 3 others severely burnt by one or two moderately large pyroclastic flows this morning. 3 more people are still reported missing.

As of Saturday evening (local time), the bodies of the 14 fatalities have all been transported from a number of areas in Suka Meriah village, which is located within a 3-kilometer radius of the volcano, while three others had yet to be found, Mt. Sinabung Eruption Media Center head Jhonson Tarigan told The Jakarta Post.

During the past days, enforcement of the exclusion zone had been loosened, and according to some sources, people had even be formally allowed to return to their homes - a fatal decision for some. 

Among the fatalities were several school children and students. 

Rescue operations were affected by fears of new pyroclastic flows. 

According to BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, there were three eruptions: the first eruption occurred at 10:30 a.m. (local time) and lasted for eight-and-a-half-minutes, generating a 4.5 km long pyroclastic flow, while the second followed immediately after at 10:38 a.m. and lasted just over four minutes, followed by a third one at 11:27 a.m. for 84 seconds.

It is not exactly clear where the pyroclastic flow originated, from explosions at the summit, collapse of the summit lava dome, or from (partial collapse) on the viscous flow that had recently been emplaced. The latter two scenarios are the more likely ones. Webcam images don't show much detail except a dense ash plume engulfing the southern slope. (Volcano Discovery)

This is the first direct impact of the Mt. Sinabung eruptions. Before the Saturday incident, the ongoing eruptions have already claimed the lives of 31 evacuees, as a result of various illnesses such as breathing difficulties, depression, asthma and hypertension.

Sutopo said that 16 villages had to be evacuated following the on-going eruptions. The 16 villages are Suka Meriah, Guru Kinayan, Selandi, Berastepu, Gamber, Kuta Tengah, Bekerah, Simacem, Kutarakyat, Sigarang-garang, Kuta Tonggal, Mardinding, Temberun, Perbaji, Sibintun and Lau Kawar. (The Jakarta Post)

Video courtesy of Volcano Discovery. February 1, 2014

Video courtesy of PhotoVolcanica. January 22, 2014.

Video courtesy of PhotoVolcanica. January 22, 2014.

Featured image courtesy of PhotoVolcanica

Tags: sinabung

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