Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mt. Lokon erupts, locals flee for safety

Mt. Lokon in Tomohon, North Sulawesi, erupted on Thursday evening after several days of increased activity, forcing more than 2,500 residents to evacuate and seek refuge in safer areas.

According to residents of the nearby city of Tomohon, the initial eruption at 10:30 p.m. local time (9:30 p.m. Jakarta time) sounded like thunder, reported Friday.

“People started to panic. We also felt the temperature rise,” said Aprilia, a student of a private university in Tomohon. “We could see the smoldering hot lava spewing from the volcano. It's was a big fire. We also felt the tremor,” she said.

Several areas in the surrounding district were reportedly showered in volcanic ash.

“Ash is everywhere, covering my house,” said Jhon Pangemanan, a resident of Mokupa, Tombariri, Manado, adding that ash was also covering the streets.

North Sulawesi Disaster Mitigation Center chief Hoyke Makarawung said his office had evacuated around 2,510 residents living within a 3.5-kilometer radius of the volcano, from 9 p.m. local time.

"We led them to designated temporary shelters at PPWG Kaaten and Tomohon city park,” he said.

info The Jakarta Post

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