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Mount Sinabung eruption: Indonesia’s lagging volcano preparedness

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Sinabung volcano in Indonesia

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia. Image: Tom Casadevall, 1987 (U.S. Geological Survey).

JAKARTA, 21 February 2014 (IRIN) – As Indonesia deals with the aftermath of two volcanic eruptions, experts question whether the country is well-equipped to face the threats from dozens of volcanoes that dot the archipelago.

At least 34 people have been killed in two volcanic eruptions this month.

Seventeen were killed on 1 February when Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra Province erupted. On 13 February, Mount Kelud in East Java Province also erupted, killing seven.

More than 130,000 people were displaced as a result of the two disasters.

“We have 100 million people living in places that are prone to disasters, including volcanoes, earthquakes and floods,” said Dody Ruswandi, deputy for emergency response at the government’s National Disaster Management Agency.

“It’s a big challenge both for the local and central governments.”

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