Mt Sinabung Eruption Claims 16 Casualties

KABAJAHE ~

The death toll of Mount Sinabung eruption rose to 16, following the death of Doni Sembiring, 70, in Efarina Etaham Hospital, Kabanjahe, Karo District, North Sumatra province, early Wednesday.

Doni Sembiring, who had been hospitalized for burn injuries since Saturday (Feb. 1), died at 3 a.m. local time on Wednesday, National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNBP) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho sated in a text message.

The only survivor of the Saturday eruption, Sehat Sembiring, 48, is currently being treated in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

On Saturday (Feb. 1), the erupting volcano claimed several lives as it spewed clouds of hot and toxic ash that dispersed across Sukameriah village, which is located around three km from the volcano’s peak.

The hot clouds instantaneously killed 14 people and caused serious burn injuries to three others. Surya Sembiring, 24, one of the critically wounded victims succumbed to injuries in the hospital on Sunday.

BNBP Chief Syamsul Maarif is currently leading a disaster mitigation effort in Karo to deal with the Sinabung eruption.

A 200-member rescue team has been deployed to look for possible victims in Sukameriah village. However, the evacuation efforts are being carried out under the safety first principle as the volcano could still spew hot and toxic ash clouds any time.

On Tuesday, the rescue team could not reach Sukameriah village because the volcano had erupted twice, spewing hot clouds.

The hot clouds are deemed very dangerous as they reach temperatures as high as 700 degrees Celsius and their flow is recorded at a speed of up to 100 kms per hour.

The authorities raised the alert status for Mount Sinabung to the highest level in November 2013. The government has declared the area lying within five-kilometer radius of the volcano’s peak as a danger zone. No one is allowed to enter the danger zone.

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