By Randy Economy
August 29, 2010
10:12 p.m. PST
Tonight their is panic in the island country of Indonesia.
For the second time in two days the volcano on Mt. Sinabung erupted, and nearly 20,000 people have been evacuated.
The spewing white clouds of smoke and ash have reached more than 2,000 yards into the air. The smoke is choking the air and the danger is growing by the hour according to sources on the scene.
Thousands of people living along the slopes of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province have been evacuated to emergency shelters, mosques and churches, said Priyadi Kardono, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency.
Their abandoned villages and crops are blanketed in heavy, gray soot.
Mount Sinabung last erupted in 1600, so observers don't know its eruption pattern and are monitoring it closely for more activity. They raised the volcano's alert to the highest level after its first blast Sunday, which followed days of rumbling.
"The problem is, we really have no idea what to expect," said Surono, a government volcanologist who uses only one name. (He must be so well known that he doesn't need a last name.)
- People evacuated climbed to 12,000
- Around 3,740 hectares of forest and farming fields were burned by lava, volcanic ashes and fire surging from Mt. Sinabung
- Food, emergency tents, and medicine were on their way to the scene.
- Government also has set up public kitchens for refugees.
- 17,000 respiratory masks have been distributed.