Mt. Sinabung erupted again on Tuesday night, forcing hundreds of residents to flee from Gurukinayan subdistrict, Payung district, Karo regency, North Sumatra, and damaging 14 homes, including four Karo customary houses. The Indonesian Volunteers Community (MRI) said that no fatalities had been reported from the houses that were ignited from the pyroclastic flows, but revealed that of the houses damaged, four were traditional Karo houses. “We checked the area this morning and there were no fatalities,” MRI chairman Susanto Ginting told The Jakarta Post in Kabanjahe on Wednesday. Ginting said that volunteers had begun to enter Gurukinayan subdistrict around midnight, after the pyroclastic flow stopped, to help extinguish the fires and prevent them from spreading to other villages. The team of volunteers, he added, worked for over three hours to extinguish the fires. Susanto expressed concern that the Karo regency administration had been slow to act when the volcano erupted. No regency official, he claimed, had been seen in situ during Tuesday’s eruption.

“They were all too fearful to go into the area,” said Susanto, a resident of Gurukinayan. Susanto also said that a total of 812 families had been evacuated from Gurukinayan and were currently sheltering in makeshift shelters at a junction on Jl. Kabanjahe – Kutabuluh. The head of Karo Regency Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), Subur Tambun, confirmed that a number of houses in Gurukinayan had been razed by fire following the eruption of Mt. Sinabung on Tuesday evening. Subur said that since his agency had not yet dared to enter the affected area, he could not confirm the number of houses lost to fire. “Areas hit by pyroclastic flows are categorized as a red zone. MORE