INDONESIA - Despite the decreasing intensity of volcanic ash emitting from Mount Sinabung, more people have been flocking to temporary shelters across Karo regency in North Sumatra, as they are afraid of the possibility of further eruptions.
One evacuee from Beras Tepu village, Aktif Sembiring, said he was afraid to return home after Sunday's eruption.
"We are afraid that the volcano will erupt again. That's why we decided to take shelter at the mosque. We left our belongings behind. We don't care about our stuff as long as we are alive," Aktif said as quoted by Antara news agency.
"We have no idea how long we are going to stay here [at the shelter]. We hope the situation will improve."
Even though thousands of residents had opted to stay in shelters, many of them returned on Monday to check on their homes. They also relocated livestock to protect them from the volcanic ash.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) reported the number of people fleeing their homes had increased from 3,710 to 5,956.
BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho was reported by Antara as saying the agency had counted the number of evacuees at all the shelters, including at the jambur or meeting halls and places of worship. Most evacuees are those whose homes are within a 3-kilometer radius of the volcano.
According to North Sumatra Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Asren Nasution, the number of evacuees stood at 5,385 people as of 3 p.m. on Monday.