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BerichtOnderwerp: Thousands-evacuated--sikka-volcano-alert-raised   zo 17 jan 2016 - 20:38

The Jakarta Post, Sun, January 17 2016,

More than 1,200 people were evacuated from three villages in Egon Gahar, Matitara district, Sikka, East Nusa Tenggara, on Sunday morning, as the alert status of Mount Egon in the regency was raised to siaga (high alert).

“Thousands of people from three villages, namely Baukrenget, Lere and Welinwatut, have been evacuated. The evacuation started at 7 a.m., local time, on Sunday, using 21 trucks. The evacuation was conducted because sulphur smells emanating from Egon had been getting stronger,” Sikka Natural Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Silvanus Tobi told journalists in Maumere on Sunday.

He further explained that the local residents who had been evacuated were currently being accommodated at the Natakoli market hall and at the hall of the Matitara district head office. Currently, he said, BPBD officers, Matitara district officials and security personnel were preparing Egon evacuees. Around 2,000 masks had been distributed to local residents who were still holding out in areas on the southern part of Mt Egon.

Silvanus said the BPBD was still waiting for instructions from the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) in Bandung, West Java, before conducting a more sizable evacuation.

“We are on full alert and ready to carry out evacuations at any time,” he said.

Silvanus said that among the activities the agency had yet to complete included the construction of toilets at temporary shelters located in the village market and at the Matitara district head office.

The alert level of Mt Egon, which is located on the border of the Matitara and Waigete districts in Sikka regency, East Nusa Tenggara, was raised at the beginning of this week, forcing local administrations to make various preparations for the evacuation of local people.

According to PVMBG recommendations, areas within a radius of three kilometers from the crater must be emptied.

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