Evacuated Mount Sinabung Villagers Ask for Aid
Tanah Karo. In the wake of a volcanic eruption on Sunday morning that displaced nearly 5,000 villagers in the North Sumatra province of Karo, refugees have been asking for services and medical attention.
“We expect the government to give aid such as blankets, milk and special food for babies,” said Nurliana beru Ginting, a 42-year-old refugee from the village of Sukandebi and the mother of three young children.
Many evacuees needed medical support, and some had coughs or high fevers, she added.
As the refugees fled, some were exposed to volcanic ash.
“There are many refugees starving in the middle of the night,” Nurliana said. “The cold weather, especially in the open-air shelters, makes us suffer. The soup kitchen is not operating at full capacity yet.”
Elisa beru Tarigan, 37, said parents were clothing children in sarongs and multiple layers to keep them warm and were worried that air conditions might make children sick. She said that a medical team was needed in every refugee locations, in her view.
So far 4,739 people have fled Mount Sinabung and taken refuse in eight shelters. The largest shelters are Jembur Sempakata, which has taken in 1,453 people, and GBKP Kota, which has taken 1,400.
Weather services reported rain and a low of 24 degrees Celsius in the province.
Of the 25 mountain climbers who were on the volcano’s slopes during the eruption, all survived.
“The climbers are confirmed safe and they have all left the Mount Sinabung area,” Jhonson Tarigan, public relations coordinator for the Sinabung disaster mitigation efforts, told Indonesian news portal Antaranews.com.
Jhonson said the climbers came from Aceh, Medan and several other areas in North Sumatra, and that they had all returned to their homes.
He said that the climbers were not supposed to have climbed the volcano, because the area had been at alert” status [level II] and later raised to “ready” status [level III] on the Center for Vulcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation’s four-point scale. The Center declared a three-kilometer off-limits zone around the crater.
“The climbers should have had permits from the appropriate authority to enter the Mount Sinabung area,” Jhonson said. “This is for safety and security.”
At 2,600 meters, Sinabung is the tallest peak in North Sumatra, followed by Mount Sibayak, at 2,040 meters. Both are active volcanoes.
Mount Sinabung last erupted in 2010 after a long centuries of calm. It’s last reported eruption was in 1600.