Indonesians ignore volcano warnings

Thousands refuse to evacuate as Mount Kelud shows increased volcanic activity.

    Thousands of villagers have ignored warnings and some who evacuated have returned home [Reuters]

    Scientists monitoring the site said tremors were still being recorded while the temperature in Mount Kelud's crater lake had risen sharply in 24 hours.

     

    Imminent danger

     

    Scientists say the temperature in Mount
    Kelud's crater lake had risen sharply

    [EPA]

    Surono, one of the scientists, said the spike meant that magma was close to breaking through to the surface, possibly sending a torrent of mud, ash and rock known as lahar down the mountain.

     

    The authorities two weeks ago raised the alert status to maximum after Mount Kelud, one of hundreds of active volcanoes dotting the Indonesian archipelago, started showing increased activity.

     

    Despite the imminent threat, however, the authorities said 25,000 people were ignoring evacuation orders and remained in the danger zone.

     

    For weeks, authorities have pleaded with villagers to move to tent camps or government buildings, but have faced resistance.

     

    Many people insist on staying behind to tend crops or look after their homes.

     

    Superstition

     

    Superstitious villagers believe that if they turn off the lights and do not speak ill or loudly, the spirit of the volcano will calm down

    "They are being very foolish," said Sigit Raharjo, a spokesman for the local government in the area. "All we can do is ask them to leave."

     

    Officials declared the zone around the peak as off-limits but there was no attempt to stop people from travelling inside the zone.

     

    Superstitious villagers believe that if they turn off the lights and do not speak ill or loudly, the spirit of the volcano will calm down. 

     

    "If I live in a shelter, I can't make money," said Buhirin, 74, a farmer living well within the danger zone.

     

    "I have the courage to stay because I have experienced three Kelud eruptions. I know where the lahar will flow."

     

    Rusdi, a villager from nearby Sempu, said he would wait "until the mountain erupts and then I will seek refuge".

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.