Indonesian eruption displaces people, buries crops

Sinabung volcano in Sumatra, Indonesia

Sinabung volcano in Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: Kenrick95.

JAKARTA, 3 February 2014 (IRIN) – Thousands of people displaced by steadily falling ash from an active Mount Sinabung thought they would be able to return to their homes and resume their livelihoods, but those hopes have been dashed by a deadly eruption on 1 February.

“I don’t think they will be able to go home any time soon,” Marthin Hutabarat, a spokesman for the Indonesian Red Cross, told IRIN, saying those who had been courageous enough to go to their homes have since returned to shelters.

“The displaced people will need livelihood support for the next few months, as many of their crops have been destroyed,” said Benny Kaban, a protestant priest and aid worker who has been assisting in the coordination of assistance.

At least 16 people were killed when the 2,600m volcano in Karo District, in the north of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island, unexpectedly erupted on Saturday after months of rumbling, and spewing hot gas and rocks.

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