We’ve been following the eruption of Mount Sinabung in Indonesia (see the side bar). Basically, while they knew it was a volcano, no one realized it was active until 2010 when it had a brief VEI 2 eruption. After that, things seemed to settle back down to normal.
Then Sinabung really commenced operations in the fall of 2013. This activity is ongoing.
A YouTube video posted around the beginning of things in September 2013, although in Indonesian (which I don’t understand), captures the sense of “Whoa! Hey, you guys…volcano!!!!” nicely.
Because there was no clear history of an eruption at Sinabung before 2010 (though it possibly was active once in 1881), villages and farms had been built quite close. All this had to be evacuated…and as time went by, the no-go zone was extended outwards because of almost continuous pyroclastic flows.
While foreigners captured dramatic footage of the volcano, tens of thousands of local people became refugees. A few of them couldn’t resist the temptation to go back home…they paid for it with their lives.
Most stayed in the refugee camps until other living arrangements could be made. The no-go zone shrank back to 3 km as the volcano’s activity decreased over the summer. Still, over 3,000 people were still in the camps when activity at the volcano picked up again this fall. They’re still there. Nobody goes near the volcano now, and its beautiful green slopes, seen in the video above, look quite different now:
No end to the eruption is in sight. I have read, via Google Translate, that the government may declare this eruption a national disaster.
Meanwhile…somebody thought of the kids and sent them some chocolate. Here is the thank-you video they made. It’s mostly in Indonesian, but that doesn’t matter. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Categories: Sunday morning volcano