Mount Sinabung Erupts for First Time During COVID-19 Pandemic



Petir Garda Bhwana

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  • TEMPO.CO, Medan - Mount Sinabung, located in Karo District, North Sumatra Province, erupted on Saturday morning, producing an ash column that reached nearly 2,000 meters high above the volcano’s peak, or some 4,460 meters above sea level.

    This eruption was the first to have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic following the one on June 9, 2019, that created a massive column of ash reaching a height of up to some seven thousand meters above the peak, or approximately 9,460 meters above sea level, according to a press statement issued by the Sinabung Volcano Observation Post of the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) on Saturday.

    The ash column was observed to be gray to brown in color, with moderate to thick intensity, and leaning eastward.

    On the seismogram, the eruption was recorded with a maximum amplitude of 120 mm and a duration of approximately 1 hour and 44 seconds.

    Currently, the alert status of Mount Sinabung is at Level III. Local residents and visitors are also prohibited from venturing within a three-kilometer (km) radial radius of the summit of Mount Sinabung and a sectoral radius of 5 km for the south-east sectors, and 4 km for the east-north sectors.

    In the event of an ash rain, the people are advised to wear masks while venturing outdoors to lower the health impact of the volcanic ash.

    Local people living near riverbanks, whose upstream are in the vicinity of Mount Sinabung, are urged to remain vigilant to the dangers of lava floods. After remaining inactive for four centuries, Mount Sinabung has sprung back to life since 2010 and erupted sporadically. The natural disaster has led to the displacement of tens of thousands of people.

    The government relocated the displaced people to new permanent settlement areas away from the volcano.

    Mount Sinabung's eruption had claimed two lives in 2010 and 15 lives in 2015. The last known eruption, prior to recent times, occurred in the year 1600.

    Read also: Mount Sinabung Erupts Ash Columns Reach 6,500 Feet