Jakarta. Mount Sinabung in Karo, North Sumatra, spewed a 5,000-meter high volcanic ash in an eruption on Monday, according to the Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation or PVMBG.
The disaster occurred at 10.16 a.m. for a length of 1,785 seconds and a maximum amplitude of 120 mm. At 11.17 a.m., the volcano erupted again and sent hot ash 2,000 meters into the air. The second eruption was recorded with an amplitude of 122 mm and a duration of 2,246 seconds.
PVMBG Mount Sinabung observation post head Armen Putra said the thick smoke moved east and southeast of Karo.
"Villagers should wear masks to avoid exposure from volcanic ash which can cause diseases," Armen said in Karo on Monday, as quoted by Jakarta Globe's sister publication Beritasatu.
He also warned locals to stay alert for potential follow-up eruptions because the volcano has been coughing up ash for the past few days.
According to Magma Indonesia, a volcanic and seismic monitoring website belonging to the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, Sinabung's first two eruptions this year occured on Saturday.
At 01.58 a.m., the volcano ejected volcanic ash 2,000 meters-high into the atmosphere with an amplitude of 120 mm and duration of 3,644 seconds. Later at 5.18 p.m., the volcano sent another round of ash 1,000 meters high from the volcano peak. It recorded an amplitude of 60 mm and lasted for 2,183 seconds.
Karo Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) Chief Natanail Paranginangin confirmed that there were no casualties in the disaster.
BPBD has also set up a joint team with the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the National Police (Polri) to block people from entering the red zone. They are on patrol to guard any entrance into the four-affected districts.
Local residents and tourists are prohibited from doing any activity within a 3-km radius from the volcano's peak, a sectoral radius of 5 km for south-east sectors, and 4 km for east-north sectors. People residing by the river close to Mount Sinabung should also watch out for cold lava flows.
Four districts at Karo -- Berastagi, Naman Teran, Merdeka, and Dolat Rayat -- were engulfed in thick volcanic ash in the aftermath of the eruption.
Berastagi resident Linda Ginting even described the afternoon sky as dark as the night sky. The catastrophe has disrupted people's activities in farms and traditional markets. The hot volcanic ash has also caused crops to wither.
"Local villagers make a living from farming, but thousands of hectares of agricultural land have been damaged. These farmers [now have to cope with] crop failure," Linda said on Monday.
Sinabung had been dormant for centuries, but suddenly became active in 2010. Last June, the volcano sent a large plume of ash 7,000 meters into the atmosphere.
Since May 2019, Mount Sinabung's volcanic status still remains at level III or "alert".