Mount Sinabung, in the north of the island of Sumatra, began erupting around midnight after rumbling for several days, prompting some villagers to panic before the mass evacuation got under way.
Mount Sinabung last erupted in 1600, so observers don't know the volcano's eruption pattern and are monitoring it closely for more activity.
Evacuations on the volcano's slopes started Friday at the first signs of activity. Up to 10,000 people who fled are staying in government buildings, houses of worship and other evacuation centers in two nearby towns.
The government has distributed 7,000 masks to refugees and set up public kitchens so people can cook food, said Priyadi Kardono, spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency.
Indonesia is on the so-called Pacific Rim of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and geological fault lines triggering frequent earthquakes around the Pacific Basin. The eruption triggered the highest red volcano alert.
Two people died, one from breathing problems and the other from a heart attack, and two suffered injuries in road accidents as trucks, ambulances and buses were mobilized in the rescue operation.
Authorities took at least 12,000 people from high risk areas on the slopes of the 2,460-meter volcano to temporary shelters. Local TV showed showed women and children wearing face masks in cramped tents.
The area around the volcano is largely agricultural.
"Since this is the first eruption we've had in Sinabung, we're anticipating residents will remain at the shelters for at least a week while waiting for further status alert," said Priyadi Kardono.
The eruption has not damaged roads or bridges. The nearest big city is Medan where there were no disruptions to any of the air flights.
Second EruptionThe volcano, Mount Sinabung, erupted again on Monday, pitching ash two km (1.5 miles) into the air and sending nearby residents scurrying from their homes.
Villages were emptying fast near Mount Sinabung on the north of Sumatra island, leaving behind only officials from the bureau of meteorology and the police. Short-haul flights skirting the volcano were delayed.
About 21,000 people had been evacuated. Displaced residents, including children wearing masks, milled about in a makeshift reception center with a roof but no walls.
Satebi Ginting, a vegetable farmer who fled her village to shelter in the nearby town of Brastagi, said she did not know when she would return home.
"I am still too scared to go back," she said in a camp hosting around 400 people, where a band was playing traditional local tunes.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono instructed the disaster mitigation agency to help set up emergency tents, kitchens and toilets, said presidential spokesman Julian Pasha.
Surono, head of Indonesia's vulcanology center, earlier said Monday's eruption was more powerful than the first a day earlier.
"Earlier today was another eruption at 6.30 a.m., sending out smoke as high as two km, more or less," he told Reuters.
A Reuters photographer said he saw plumes of smoke rising from the volcano after the second eruption. Inactive since 1600, it had been rumbling for several days.
"I saw some hot pieces of volcanic rock come out and burn trees in the area," he said. A smell of sulphur pervaded the air as residents moved out of their homes to temporary shelters.
Many residents fled to Medan, 50 km (30 miles), Indonesia's third-largest city, northeast of the volcano. Officials said much of the movement was unnecessary.
"People have been evacuated from areas within a six km (four-mile) radius of the volcano," vulcanologist Surono said. "Beyond six km it is safe, but there has still been a lot of panic among people here who don't understand that."
He said it was impossible to know when the eruptions would stop, but it was unlikely volcanic dust would drift to neighboring countries. Air flights continue to be unaffected.
Reuters, "Thousands flee as long-sleepy Sumatra volcano erupts", accessed August 30, 2010
Reuters,"Indonesian volcano erupts again, many evacuated", accessed August 30, 2010
General Mills On The VergeThanks so much for all your letters, phone calls, and visits to General Mills demanding that they create a palm oil policy that protects Indonesia's rainforests. Last week, General Mills announced that they have started work on a new palm oil policy! Help us make sure they go for the strongest policy possible by writing CEO Ken Powell one last time (hopefully), to let him know you're counting on him to seize this opportunity to the fullest.
Indigenous Rights NowThe United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is the most comprehensive international statement on Indigenous rights to date. When the UN General Assembly adopted this Declaration in 2007, the U.S. government was one of only four countries that voted "no." President Obama must make an unwavering stand for Indigenous rights, and turn this vote around.
Vote Chevron Into The Corporate Hall of ShameEach year, the most environmentally and socially irresponsible companies in the world are nominated for the Corporate Hall of Shame. In 2010, the upper echelon of corporate wrongdoing is well represented, and of course that means Chevron is up for this "prestigious" award for the toxic oil pollution it refuses to clean up in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest. Chevron deserves your vote!
She piddled on the seats in the ute, both of them. Did I tell you they are leather seats?
Maybe she was just excited.
Now there is white dog hair everywhere in the ute.
She is doing a lot of wandering around the yard, I think she may be hyperactive! Gee, does that mean I'll have to take her on long walks..... and what effect will that have on my gut?
She likes to play ball with Jack though....
Get a load of those legs! I'm sure they have grown a couple of inches since I first met her.
(I was going to say that her legs have grown a foot, but I don't do corny jokes.... well not as much as I used to, honest.)
Several hundred miles north in Baffin Bay, Greenpeace eco-warriors seeking to halt offshore oil exploration in the Arctic faced down a Danish warship. The government hotly contests Greenpeace’s claim that, because oil degrades far more slowly in freezing waters, a Mexican Gulf-style oil spill would mean calamity for the fragile environment. “Our safety standards are the highest in the world,” says Henrik Stendal, chief geologist at the Government Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum.
In recent months the bureau has run an extensive public-information program in Greenland, drawing full houses at meetings throughout the sprawling country. A plethora of newly enacted legislation is designed to avert offshore accidents and to prevent a small spill becoming a big catastrophe should something go wrong.
Most of Greenland’s 56,000 inhabitants seem persuaded. Despite the vulnerability of the country’s ice sheet to global warming, a recent Greenpeace meeting in Nuuk drew a paltry 45 people. Even this minimal interest in the environmentalists’ message could fall further as the implications of this week’s news start to sink in.
Greenland has been searching for the black stuff for decades. Five wells drilled in the 1970s turned out to be dry, as was a sixth in 2000. But this one looks like the game-changer. Cairn says it has found natural gas in thin sand layers in one of its test wells, indicating the presence of oil. Overall, it estimates that the acreage it is licensed to drill in holds 4 billion barrels of oil. Data from the United States Geological Survey suggest the seabed between Greenland and Canada holds a total of 17 billion barrels.
There may be further riches off the vast island’s eastern coast. According to some estimates the bedrock beneath the Greenland Sea could hold more oil than the North Sea, which has partially powered the British, Dutch and Norwegian economies for decades. This area will be opened for exploration in 2012.
Greenland’s exploration adventure does not stop there. Dozens of mining companies are trawling the narrow strip of land abutting its 44,087-kilometer coastline for diamonds, gold and rubies and possibly more exotic treasures.
Sniffing opportunity, even before the oil starts flowing and the rubies glisten, the world has started to arrive in Greenland. Australian and American accents are commonplace in Kangerlussuaq international airport. The restaurant at Nuuk’s only upmarket hotel has no difficulty attracting clients for its exclusive wagyu beef fillet.
It is impossible to estimate how much money this bounty could generate for Greenland’s cash-strapped government. But although the potential to transform the economy is obvious, there is no talk yet of using the proceeds to buy full independence from Denmark. Self-government became law only last year, and it will take decades to wean Greenland off its annual DKr3 billion ($500m) grant from Copenhagen—which accounts for over half of Greenland’s revenues.
As for the locals, having had their hopes raised and dashed so many times before, they are taking nothing for granted. “We won’t get rich overnight,” says Brian Juhl, a supermarket manager. “But perhaps in the future.”
The Economist, "Oil in Greenland: Black stuff in a green land", accessed August 26, 2010
NEW SPECIES DISCOVERED: The adorable titi monkey
What’s adorable, furry and has never been seen before? Callicebus caquetensis, a new species of titi monkey discovered on a scientific expedition to the Colombian Amazon. Researchers from the National University of Colombia who discovered the new primate consider it to be critically endangered due to rapid loss of the forest where it lives and its small population.
The global search of a lifetime: Search for the Lost Frogs
Over the next few months, CI is supporting expeditions by amphibian experts in 20 countries across Latin America, Africa and Asia. Led by members of International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Amphibian Specialist Group, the research teams are in search of around 40 species that haven’t been seen for more than a decade. Although there is no guarantee of success, scientists are optimistic about the prospect of at least one rediscovery.
Whatever the results, the expedition findings will expand our global understanding of the threats to amphibians and bring us closer to finding solutions for the animals' protection. Bold conservation efforts are not only critical for the future of many amphibians themselves, but also for the benefit of humans that rely on pest control, nutrient cycling and other services the animals provide.
At the latest count, CI is supporting 32 teams in 20 countries participating in this one-of-a-kind search. No search of this scale and type has ever been undertaken before.
The unprecedented 'Pacific Oceanscape'
An unprecedented agreement toward the cooperative stewardship of a vast swath of Pacific Ocean has been reached, and conservationists are heralding it as among the most ambitious, innovative, and collaborative marine initiatives on Earth.
Meeting in Port Villa, Vanuatu, at the annual Pacific Islands Leadership Forum, heads of state and governments from 15 nations endorsed a draft framework for the long-term, sustainable and cooperative management of 38.5 million square kilometers–larger than the land size of Canada, the United States and Mexico combined.
The Framework, called the Pacific Oceanscape, aims to address all ocean issues from governance to climate change. It also aims to design policies and implement practices that will improve ocean health, increase resources and expertise, and encourage governments to factor ocean issues into decisions about economic and sustainable development. It represents perhaps the largest marine conservation management initiative in history, as measured by countries and area, and a new, united Pacific voice on ocean conservation and management.
“It is, without doubt, the most ambitious, most innovative, and most well-grounded marine initiative I have seen in my 32 years as a marine biologist and conservationist,” said Dr. Greg Stone, CI’s Chief Ocean Scientist and Senior Vice President for Marine Conservation.
This issue of eNews features many conservation successes and programs - share the good news!
| || |
Header photo credits: