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008031

Evacuation of Nearly 1000 as Volcanic Activity Rises in E. Indonesia

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Authorities are preparing to evacuate nearly 1,000 people living in dangerous zones as Banda Api volcano in Maluku province in eastern Indonesia has turned more active, officials said Thursday.

Mount Banda Api in Maluku Tengah district has issued several tremors in the past few days, forcing authorities to ban any activity within a 1-km. radius from the crater, Devi Kamil, head of the observation unit of the national volcanology agency said.

“We have issued a recommendation for evacuation. There must not be any activity in the area of 1 km. from the crater,” the volcanologist told Xinhua over the phone.

“Should the frequency of the tremor keep rising, eruption may happen. But if it doesn’t, poisoned gas will spread from the crater.”

Bob Rachmat, head of the operational unit of the disaster agency in the district, said the agency had already mapped the area, noting that many residents still live in the slopes of the volcano.

“There are over 770 people living within 1 km. from the crater. All of them must be moved as soon as possible,” he told Xinhua by phone from the district.

Mount Banda Api erupted in 1998, killing three people and forcing more than 1,000 others to evacuate, according to the national volcanology agency.

Indonesia, an archipelago consisting of 17,500 islands, is home to 129 active volcanoes.


Manila Bulletin
Philippine News Agency


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