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Mount Sinabung volcano erupts eight times in a few hours sending thousands fleeing from fallen rocks | News.com.au

Mount Sinabung volcano erupts eight times in a few hours sending thousands fleeing from fallen rocks

  • Staff Writers
  • AFP
  • November 24, 2013 8:09PM

Mount Sinabung spews smoke above Tigapancur village in Karo district, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Picture: Ulet Ifansasti

Mount Sinabung spews smoke above Tigapancur village in Karo district, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Picture: Ulet Ifansasti

A VOLCANO in western Indonesia has erupted eight times in just a few hours, “raining down rocks” over a large area and forcing thousands to flee their homes.

Mount Sinabung has been erupting on and off since September, but went into overdrive late on Saturday and early Sunday, repeatedly spewing out red-hot ash and rocks up to eight kilometres into the air.

Several thousand people left their homes overnight, taking the total number of those who have fled since the volcano rumbled to life to around 12,300, said the national disaster agency on Sunday.

Farmers ride their motorcycle along a road after Mount Sinabung erupted. Picture: Kharisma Tarigan

Farmers ride their motorcycle along a road after Mount Sinabung erupted. Picture: Kharisma Tarigan”People panicked last night as the eruption was accompanied by a loud thunderous sound and vibrations. Then it started raining down rocks,” said local government official Robert Peranginangin.

“They ran helter-skelter out of their homes and cried for help.”

He added there were no known casualties from the latest eruptions.

Sinabung volcano spews volcanic ash into the air in Karo, "raining down rocks" over a large area and forcing thousands to flee t

Sinabung volcano spews volcanic ash into the air in Karo, “raining down rocks” over a large area and forcing thousands to flee their homes. Picture: Ivan Damanik

The volcanology agency raised the alert level for the volcano, on the northern tip of Sumatra island, to the highest point on a four-stage scale, meaning a hazardous eruption is imminent or under way.

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the government was calling for people living within five kilometres of the volcano to leave their homes.

An ash covered man works at a coffee plantation in Guru Kinayan village, located less than 3km from Mount Sinabung. Picture: Ule

An ash covered man works at a coffee plantation in Guru Kinayan village, located less than 3km from Mount Sinabung. Picture: Ulet Ifansasti

Sinabung, one of dozens of active volcanoes in Indonesia which straddles major tectonic fault lines known as the “Ring of Fire”, erupted in September for the first time since 2010.

In August five people were killed and hundreds evacuated when a volcano on a tiny island in East Nusa Tenggara province erupted.

The country’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, killed more than 350 people in a series of violent eruptions in 2010.

People look as Mount Sinabung spews pyroclastic smoke above Tigapancur village. Picture: Ulet Ifansasti

People look as Mount Sinabung spews pyroclastic smoke above Tigapancur village. Picture: Ulet Ifansasti

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BREAKING: Indigenous communities fighting to reclaim stolen lands

Rainforest Action Network
Ask APRIL CEO Sukanto Tanoto to release Indigenous community protestors and return stolen native lands
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For generations, the Indigenous Batak communities of Northern Sumatra have harvested and traded the sap from the trees in their sacred benzoin forests. The sap is used for the production of incense and perfumes, and exported to the international market. The villages thrived and forests were healthy.

Today, these communities are fighting for their lands and livelihoods against the controversial paper giant APRIL. Please write to APRIL’s CEO Sukanto Tanoto today and ask APRIL to peacefully resolve this conflict now and return the community lands it has stolen.

Earlier this week, hundreds of villagers risked life and limb by standing between their forest home and the machinery of APRIL’s logging operations. In response, Indonesia’s notoriously abusive security agency, known as Brimob, was called in to forcibly suppress the protest. At least 16 village members have now been arrested in connection to this latest dispute.

This land conflict is just one example of the widespread human rights violations that have plagued APRIL’s operations for many years. This case has been simmering since 2009, when an APRIL affiliate began deforesting the community’s territory and planting eucalyptus plantations on their ancestral land.

Tell APRIL CEO Sukanto Tanoto to release the 16 Indigenous activists who are still being held, to stop expansion on Batak lands, and to return the lands already stolen from them.

Last September, APRIL workers and security forces again began to clear forest on the Batak communities’ land. The community gathered in large numbers to stop the machinery, confiscating weapons and chainsaws from the logging crew. Three days later, eight villagers were summoned to the police station. Instead, nearly 1,000 community members arrived in an inspiring act of solidarity.

We must stand with these communities. This remains a dangerous and unresolved confrontation between a major corporation seeking to maximize profits and an Indigenous people desperately seeking to preserve their identity and ancestral lands.

APRIL’s massive logging operations have run roughshod over the rights of local communities for far too long. Please write to APRIL’s CEO and let him know these practices are unacceptable and must stop now.

For the forests, Lafcadio CortesiRainforest Free Paper campaigner

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Rainforest Action Network425 Bush Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94108 USA Phone: (415) 398-4404 Fax: (415) 398-2732 TrackImage?key=1395038156