North Sulawesi’s Mount Lokon erupted and produced a loud blast that could be heard six kilometers away from the top of the Tompaluan crater.
The latest eruption was followed by loud thunder and a blast at 2:05 p.m. local time on Sunday.
The eruption spewed lava and volcanic ashes blown by the winds to the northeast, but it wasn’t clear how high the ashes were spewed into the sky because the mountain was covered by smoke.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), said that Mount Lokon, which is located in Tomohon, continued to show increased activities. The mountain was still erupting as of late on Sunday.
“Mount Lokon erupted 41 times in September 2012 alone,” said Sutopo on Sunday, adding that it erupted three times on Friday.
The agency has issued a 2.5 kilometer radius ban and asked local residents to keep their distance from the Tompaluan crater. It has also banned people from climbing the mountain.
“The locals don’t have to evacuate, but they are asked to remain cautious. There are no casualties or any damages. BNPB and [the North Sulawesi Disaster Mitigation Office] have prepared everything since August and up to now,” said Sutopo.
BNPB said the eruption spurted debris 1,500 meters into the sky. The mountain also spewed lava materials 350 meters high and produced a loud blast. Mount Lokon is around 25 kilometers toward the southern part of Manado, the provincial capital of North Sulawesi.
Head of Mount Lokon observation post Farid Sukendar Bima said that the ashes reached Pineleng and Tombulu subdistricts in Minahasa district. Local residents have been warned about the risk of being afflicted by respiratory ailments, known as ISPA.
“We have asked [residents] to remain cautious because Mount Lokon is still active and has continued to spew lava and ashes during the past two weeks,” Farid told BeritaSatu.com on Saturday.
Meanwhile, head of North Sulawesi Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) Hoyke Makarawung said that the amount of ashes blanketing the affected areas was insignificant. But the agency has reminded residents to remain cautious about the danger of ISPA. He urged residents living in ash-prone areas to wear masks.
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Source: The Jakarta Globe | Author: Dessy Sagita