Sinabung Volcano Evacuees Complain of Illness, Stress

By webadmin on 12:46 pm Aug 30, 2010
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Kabanjahe, Indonesia. Hundreds of the many thousands of people who have crowded into evacuation centers seeking protection from Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra have begun to complain of illness.

“I have a constant headache and stomachache,” Maranata, an internally displaced person, told Metro TV.

As the number of people seeking shelter passed 20,000, a number also reported that they were suffering from stress amid concerns about their property and crops and the possibility of further eruptions.

At least one person is reported to have succumbed to respiratory problems and died.

The volcano spewed a vast cloud of smoke and ash high into the air on Monday, disrupting flights and sending thousands more people into temporary shelters, officials said.

Airlines were warned to avoid the volcano as it erupted for a second day after springing to life for the first time in four centuries on Sunday.

“It erupted again at 6:30 a.m. and lasted about 15 minutes. The smoke and ash reached at least 2,000 metres,” government volcanologist Agus Budianto said.

The eruption was bigger than on Sunday when Sinabung rumbled into action for the first time since 1600, adding its name to the list of 69 active volcanoes in the Southeast Asian archipelago.  

Aircraft were ordered to avoid the area but travellers to North Sumatra province were warned of possible delays, Transportation Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said.

“It may affect flight traffic to and from the province. It all depends on the direction of the wind,” he told AFP.

Several domestic flights had to be cancelled on Sunday due to the smoke, he said.

The number of people living in temporary shelters swelled by 3,000 to 21,000, disaster management official Andes Mbaga said.

Sixteen shelters have been set up to accommodate people who evacuated their villagers as ash and stones fell around the area early Sunday.

Witnesses said a strong smell of sulphur filled the air and many people fled their homes before receiving the order to evacuate.