Monitoring officials have warned residents to remain alert as Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra continues with intense volcanic activity. A local chief reported that ongoing eruptions had taken a mental toll on residents, with two people being sent to mental institutions. The volcano erupted twice early on Wednesday, at 1:21 a.m. and 3:30 a.m., and sent hot clouds southward. The Sinabung observation station recorded at least 87 tectonic quakes and lava flow from 12 a.m. to 12 p.m. Observation station staff member Deri Alhidayat said the volcanic intensity over the past few days had shown a significant increase, evident from the tectonic quakes occurring thus far. “Tectonic shock waves have been detected almost every day. As many as 20 tectonic and volcanic quakes have taken place today alone,” said Deri on Wednesday. He added the eruptions were expected to continue for a long time.

He urged residents living around the mountain to raise their awareness until the government issued an official announcement on the volcano’s status. Residents in Karo regency, especially those living around the volcano, are said to be depressed as the volcano has continued to erupt for almost five years with no sign of stopping. Pelin Sembiring, the chief of Guru Kinayan village, which is also affected by the eruption, said many residents had suffered from depression from the impacts of the eruptions. Two of his residents had to be treated at the Simalingkar mental hospital in Medan, North Sumatra, for severe depression as all their belongings had been destroyed and their farms, which they relied upon as a source of income, had been damaged by volcanic ash and pyroclastic flows. “Many residents are mentally depressed because they couldn’t stand facing the impacts of the eruption disaster which prevails up until now,” said Pelin. FULL REPORT