Red Cross Sends Face Masks to Residents Near Mt. Soputan
Makassar. The Indonesian Red Cross has sent 31,000 masks to Southeast Minahasa district, North Sulawesi, to be distributed among residents living around Mount Soputan, which erupted on Sunday morning.
Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) chief Jusuf Kalla said on Tuesday that the sending of the masks was part of an anticipatory step to prevent local residents from suffering respiratory disorders due to volcanic ash in the air.
“Besides masks we also have sent logistics as a preparatory step in case of eruption. We did the same when Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta erupted some time ago,” he said.
Jusuf said 16,000 of the masks were sent on Monday and 15,000 on Tuesday.
Local authorities on Sunday put Soputan on the second highest alert status after it spewed ash and hot clouds earlier in the day.
“The Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation (PVMBG) and the local government keep monitoring the condition of Mount Soputan because it may show signs of increased activity,” Hoyke Makarawung, head of the North Sulawesi Natural Disaster Mitigation Board (BPBD), said here on Sunday.
According to data from the volcano’s monitoring post at Maliku village, Soputan erupted at around 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, sending ash up to 5,000 meters into the sky.
He said the local authorities had ordered the people living on the volcano’s slope to keep watch for the eruption and to stay at least six kilometers away from the crater.
The 1,784-meter volcano last erupted in June 2008.