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Indonesia racing to fix dams as Mount Kelud eruption on high alert
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10:58, October 07, 2007

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As volcano Mount Kelud is on third- highest alert for the possible eruption, Indonesia is racing to strengthen dams and drainage tunnels Saturday to control a possible hot mud flow from it.

Laborers worked to strengthen and expand dams on the east of Java island to be able to hold back deadly mud flows if Mount Kelud erupts in the near future, said Indonesian chief volcanologist Saut Simatupang.

"The dams and drainage system are there to minimize the devastation Mount Kelud could make. We are racing against the mount," Simatupang was quoted by local English newspaper Jakarta Post as saying Saturday.

Meanwhile, The Center for Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Management of Indonesia is also preparing the potential disaster.

More than 50 tents arrived Friday to house refugees should the incident occur, the center's head, Deddy Satria, said Saturday. His team would also set up several public kitchens and logistics centers.

Deddy said the center would distribute 50,000 masks to residents living near Mount Kelud, and further 10,000 were required.

The government has also made preparations to evacuate about 24, 000 people living just outside a danger zone, whenever the highest level of alert was announced.

The 1,731-meter Mount Kelud, about 620 kilometers east of Jakarta, is one of the most active volcanoes in the world's largest archipelagic nation.

In 1919, Kelud's mud flow traveled 38 kilometers in less than an hour and devastated more than 15,000 hectares of arable land. It destroyed 100 villages and killed 5,160 people. The latest eruption was in 1990.

The alert was raised late last month to the second-highest level after sensors on its slopes picked up increased activity and a buildup of gases.

Source: Xinhua

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