Rokatenda Volcano Erupts In Indonesia, Killing 6 People Who Refused To Evacuate

By iScienceTimes Staff on August 12, 2013 4:14 PM EDT

Rokatenda Volcano erupted on Saturday on Palue islan in Indonesia, killing six people, among them two children. (Photo: Reuters)

The Mount Rokatenda volcano on the Indonesian island of Palue continued to spew ash and lava today, two days after hot lava killed six people.

The Rokatenda volcano spit a mile-high plume of ash and smoke into the air on Saturday, with lava covering a beach and nearby homes.  

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The six people killed on Saturday from the flowing lava of the Rokatenda volcano in the eastern Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara had refused to evacuate the area. Despite the government begging people to leave the area around the Rokatenda volcano, half of the local residents refused, saying that custom demanded they stay on their ancestral land.

On Sunday, the day after lava from the Rokatenda volcano killed six, rescue teams tried to get more people off of the island, as the volcano was still emitting "dangerous levels" of ash and rock.

"It was tough trudging through hot ground covered in ash that was 10cm to 20cm thick," said one member of a rescue team. "Everything was burnt by the lava. People were scared and many were crying. They wanted to get away from the volcano, but at the same time they were reluctant to leave their livestock and homes."

About 2,000 people had been evacuated before the Rokatenda volcano eruption began, with 8,000 people still on the island.

Two children were among the six people killed by the Rokatenda volcano. The bodies of the four adults were recovered from Ponge Beach in the village of Rokirole, but the children's bodies haven't been located.

There are 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, of which the Rokatenda volcano is one. Indonesia sits on the Pacific's "Ring of Fire," making it prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

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