Medan, N Sumatra (ANTARA News) - Many evacuees from the Mount Sinabung eruptions in North Sumatras Karo district have returned home, with nearly 18 thousand of them still taking shelter as of Saturday, a spokesman said on Sunday.

The evacuees who had returned home hailed from villages outside a 5-km radius of the volcanos crater, coordinator of the Sinabung disaster mitigation media center Jhonson Tarigan said.

"Thousands of evacuees have returned home at the recommendation of the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) which keeps monitoring the activities of Mount Sinabung," he said.

He said a total of 16 villages in Karo district are located outside a 5-km radius of the volcanos crater.

The 16 villages are Cimbang, Ujung Payung, Rimo Kayu, Batu Karang, Tiga Pancur, Kutambelin, Gung Pinta, Sukandebi, Tanjung Morawa, Tiganderket, Payung, Pintu Besi, Kebayakan, Jeraya, Kutambelin and Temberun.

"Residents of 10 of the villages who have taken shelter at evacuee command posts in Kabanjahe for fear of the threat of the Mount Sinabung eruptions have returned home," he said.

Data from the evacuee command posts show the number of evacuees fell to 18,002 on Saturday from 19,985 on Friday or from 20,489 on Thursday.

The center raised the status of Mount Sinabung to the highest alert level as of November 24 last year, meaning that the volcano has the potential to send out materials measuring 3-4 cm to up to 4 km from its crater and therefore, people living within a 5-km radius of the crater must be evacuated.

The PVMBG said earlier 1,255 evacuees from three villages located within a radius of 3 kilometers from the volcano must be immediately relocated as they are facing threats of pyroclastic clouds, poisonous gas and lava.

At least 16 people were killed when the volcano spewed clouds of hot and toxic ash that dispersed across Sukameriah village located around three km from the volcanos peak on Feb 1.

Reporting by Munawar Mandailing
(T.SYS/A/S012/S012) 23-02-2014 13:32:36

Editor: Aditia Maruli Radja
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