Sun, 14 Jan 2001

More eruptions possible in Kupang

KUPANG, East Nusa Tenggara (JP): A Bandung-based volcanologist warned residents living along the slopes of Mt. Ine Like on Saturday that more eruptions were likely.

Ngada Regent Albertus Botha said a letter from the Directorate of Volcanology, signed by volcanologist Wirakusuma, warned the residents to leave the area around the mountain as soon as possible, and not to return until the area was declared safe.

So far some 6,500 residents of the villages of Naru, Menge and Bou in the district of Ngada have been forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in neighboring villages, after the 1,559- meter high volcano spewed hot ash on Thursday.

The Ngada regency has opened 20 locations to house the villagers. A site in Rowa village is currently housing almost 2,000 people and a multipurpose hall in Bajawa village 838. At least 700 people are sheltering in the office of the Natanage village head.

Regent Albertus said there was an adequate supply of rice for the villagers, but there was little meat or fish. "We don't have the funds for that." (yac/sur)