North Sulawesi’s Mount Lokon enters second day of eruption

Saturday, December 8, 2012
By Paul Martin
December 8, 2012

INDONESIA – Mount Lokon, near the North Sulawesi town of Tomohon, entered its second day of eruption on Friday, belching heaps of ash and smoke into the atmosphere. “People are asked to remain alert and not conduct any activities within a 2.5 kilometer radius around the Tompuluan crater of Mount Lokon,” said Farid Bima, who heads the volcano monitoring outpost near the mountain. The 1,579-meter-high volcano first erupted at around 5:18 p.m. on Thursday, sending a column of ash and smoke that reached some 3,500 meters high. The ash fell mostly on the southeastern slope of the volcano. Farid said that so far there had been no report of casualties or damages, and reiterated that the alert status of the mountain was still at “ready,” or two rungs above normal and one below full eruption. Mount Lokon has demonstrated rising volcanic activities since mid-year, he added, and has been undergoing a series of small and large eruptions. Tomohon Mayor Jemmy Eman announced on Friday a 2.5 kilometer-radius danger-zone and also prepared areas to shelter people if any evacuations needed to take place. However, he said there was no need for people on the upper slopes of the mountain to be evacuated, since the eruptions so far were not deemed major threats. “Therefore, there will not be any evacuations yet,” said Arnold Poli, the city secretary. An eruption of Mount Lokon last month prompted the evacuation of some 5,000 people from its upper slopes. Hoyke Makarawung, the head of the North Sulawesi Disaster Mitigation Agency, said that his institution had already readied assistance should any evacuation take place in the areas affected by the discharge. “We are continuously monitoring the condition of the volcano,” he said. –Jakarta Globe

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