Indonesia's volcano eruption forces more evacuation

19:35, August 30, 2010      

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A family living close to the Sinabung volcano catch a ride with their belongings as it spews thick smoke in Karo district in North Sumatra on August 29. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

The number of people forced to be evacuated due to the eruption of a volcano in Sumatra island, Indonesia, may rise to 34,000, spokesman of National Disaster Management Agency Priyadi Kardono said on Monday.

On Monday, more than 27,000 people have escaped their homes, he said.

The smoke from the eruption has also disturbed the flight from western area toward main airport, Palonia, in North Sumatra province, Airport Duty Manager at Polonia airport Agus Maulana said.

"Today a plane operated by Susi Air from Sibolga cancels flight to Polonia because of the smoke," he told Xinhua over phone from the province.

The 2,400-meter high Mount Sibabung erupted for the second time on earlier Monday and spew ash and smoke up to more than 2,000 meters high and they keep enveloping the sky by Monday afternoon.

Transport Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said that should the wind blow direct to the east it will disturb more-frequent domestic flight, and should it direct toward the north it will disturb international aviation.

The Volcanology Agency has not been certain yet when they will downgrade the top alert status of the mount, and recommended those living in the risky area of 6 kilometers from the mount to leave the area, head of the agency named only Surono has said.

It was the volcano's first eruption in 400 years. Indonesia has the highest density of volcanoes in the world with about 500 in the "Belt of Fire" in the 5,000-kilometer-long archipelago nation. Nearly 130 are active and 68 are listed as dangerous.
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