Toxic Gases from Mount Ijen Sends 30 to Hospital
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Mount Ijen in Bayunwangi, East Java, belched thick clouds of sulfuric gas on Wednesday, March 21, sending 30 people to hospital and prompting the closure of the popular tourist and mining site.
Nearly 200 people living on the slopes of the Ijen volcano were forced to evacuate.
"Because of this incident, the public - tourists or miners - are not allowed near the crater until further notice," said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the national disaster mitigation agency.
He added that many residents had experienced vomiting and difficulty in breathing.
There was no increase in seismic activity, Sutopo said.
Kawah Ijen (Ijen Crater) is a popular site for tourists and miners, who dig up hardening yellow sulfur to sell for use in everything from cosmetics to matchsticks.
The volcano regularly puffs out small amounts of noxious gases but the site stays open to the public.