Kelud Death Toll Reaches 6 as Some Airports Resume Service

By Jakarta Globe on 05:45 pm Feb 15, 2014
Category Featured, News
04078588-1_preview

A villager evacuates cattle from an area covered by volcanic ash in Malang, East Java on February 15, 2014. (EPA Photo/Fully Handoko)

Jakarta. Six have died so far in the wake of Mount Kelud’s forceful Thursday eruption, which drove tens of thousands of Central and East Java residents from their homes and scattered ash as far as Bandung, West Java — some 600 kilometers distant.

“We are still identifying [the causes of death] and waiting for autopsy results,” Malang Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) officer Yafan told Indonesian news portal Kompas.com. While respiratory problems were likely culprits for the deaths, at least one death and one critical injury were caused by the collapse of the roof of a Malang shelter under the weight of collected ash. The volatile volcano, located in Kediri, East Java, erupted again on Saturday morning, but with far less impact than Thursday’s massive event. “People have reported that at around 6 a.m. Kelud erupted again, but on a smaller scale,” Khoirul Huda, an observer in the nearby village of Sugihwaras, told Kompas.com. “Ash was as high as one kilometer above the top of the [volcano].” Ash Saturday On Saturday, Thursday’s ash continued to affect much of Java. East Java Governor Soekarwo urged all residents to stay at least 10 kilometers from the volcano. “People are not allowed to return home until further notice from the government,” he said during a visit to a shelter in Kediri. Indonesian news portal Detik.com reported that Yogyakarta residents took to the streets to scrub away ash on Saturday morning. All schools in Semarang, Central Java were closed because ash continued to blanket the city, news portal Liputan6.com reported. “Hopefully on Monday everything will be back to normal and students can return to school,” said Bunyamin, the head of Semarang’s education agency. “Today, the condition are still not good.” Volcanic ash was still a problem on Saturday in Bogor, West Java, some 60 kilometers from Jakarta, according to the Bogor police department. “Mount Kelud’s volcanic ashes have reached Bogor city as visible on vehicles parked outside,” the Bogor Police tweeted on Saturday. Some airports resume service, some remain closed The Transportation Ministry told news portal Detik.com on Saturday that four major airports in Java were still closed and would probably remain so at least through Sunday: Husein Sastranegara Airport in Bandung, Juanda Airport in Surabaya, Adisumarmo Airport in Solo and Adisucipto Airport in Yogyakarta. The airports needed to clean ash from runways before they could reopen, according to Transportation Ministry information chief Bambang S. Ervan. “I cannot confirm [when they will be open],” he said. “The current information is that Bandung airport can operate tomorrow morning, while Surabaya is still closed at least until tonight.” Bambang said that three airports that closed their runways on Friday were able to resume operations Saturday. “Achmad Yani airport in Semarang, Abdurrahman Saleh in Malang and Tunggul Wulung in Cilacap have been operating normally since this morning,” he said.