Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Indonesia hikes danger level for volcano

Indonesia hikes danger level for volcano

Indonesia hikes danger level for volcano

Indonesia on Thursday raised the danger alert level for an erupting volcano that sparked a killer tsunami at the weekend, after previously warning that fresh activity at the crater threatened to trigger another deadly wave.

Authorities also widened a no-go zone around rumbling Anak Krakatoa to 5km – up from a previous 2km – and warned shell-shocked residents to stay away from the coast, after more than 400 were killed by Saturday night’s killer wave.

Plumes of ash burst into the sky as pyroclastic flows – hot gas and other volcanic material – flowed down the crater, threatening anyone too close to the volcano and raising the risk of rough seas for boats in the vicinity.

“There is a danger of more eruptions,” said national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

“People [near the volcano] could be hit by hot rocks, pyroclastic flows and thick ash.”

Authorities raised the crater’s status to high alert, the second-highest warning on the country’s four-point danger scale, while aviation officials ordered flights to be redirected away from the area.

“We’ve raised the status of [the volcano] since this morning because there’s been a change in the eruption pattern,” Kus Hendratno, a senior official at the Krakatoa observatory, said on Thursday.

‘Just pray for us’

The new flows posed no immediate danger to nearby towns as the volcano sits in the middle of the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra islands.

But the status change sparked new fears with many residents already scared and refusing to return to their communities over fears of another tsunami.

“This worries me,” said Ugi Sugiarti, a cook at the Augusta Hotel in hard-hit Carita. “I’ve already left.”

Sukma, a security guard at the shattered Mutiara Carita Cottages, added: “Just please pray for us and that everything will be okay.”

A section of the crater – which emerged at the site of the Krakatoa volcano, the massive 1883 eruption of which killed at least 36,000 people – collapsed after an eruption and slid into the ocean, triggering Saturday night’s killer wave.

At least 430 people were killed, with 1,495 people injured and another 159 were missing.

Nearly 22,000 people have been evacuated and are living in shelters.

On Wednesday evening, the disaster agency said that wind was blowing “ash and sand” from the volcano to the nearby towns of Cilegon and Serang on Java, and advised residents to wear masks and glasses if they had to venture outdoors.

Torrential rains have sparked flooding in some areas, hampering the relief effort and heaping more misery on the stricken region, as thousands cram emergency shelters.

Medical workers have warned that clean water and medicine supplies were running low – stoking fears of a public health crisis.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hundreds of children in hospital with dengue

    A serious dengue fever epidemic is affecting Cambodia, with nearly 600 children hospitalised in the five Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals on Monday alone, a statement posted on the Kantha Bopha Foundation’s official Facebook page said on Wednesday. Because Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals provide

  • Sihanoukville building collapse death toll rises to 19

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said on Sunday that the government will act against those responsible for the collapse of a seven-storey building in Sihanoukville on Saturday, which resulted in 19 dead and 24 injured as of Sunday evening. Sar Kheng said three Chinese nationals and one

  • Gov’t to probe Chinese exports to US via Sihanoukville

    The government is investigating allegations that Chinese companies are using Chinese-owned special economic zones in Cambodia to export goods to the US and avoid tariffs, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay. The move comes after US embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes said the US had

  • Banh: The Khmer Rouge worse than sanctions and pressure

    Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said on Thursday that having sanctions and external pressure placed on Cambodia was not worse than life under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Tea Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, was speaking to military and ruling party officials