By Ainur Rohmah
TUBAN, Indonesia (AA) – At least six farmers have died in a volcanic eruption in western Indonesia and officials fear that many more may be buried under hot ash.
Rescuers were clamoring Sunday to save those injured after Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province unleashed a series of eruptions late Saturday spewing volcanic ash 3,000 meters (9843 feet) into the air.
Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement sent to Anadolu Agency that nine people had so far been affected, with three still in a critical condition after suffering severe burns.
"The victims have now been evacuated to Kabanjahe Hospital," he said.
He added that hot clouds had burnt houses in nearby Gamber village, and further eruptions could occur at any time.
Nugroho said joint search and rescue teams continue to search for victims, many of whom were farming when Sinabung erupted.
It is not known exactly how many people were in the area when the incident occurred.
Gamber is located on the southeast side Sinabung, around 4 kilometers from its crater
It is categorized as a red zone, with villagers forbidden from farming because of the threat of hot clouds, lava, dense ash, and other materials from the volcano.
Nugroho said that despite the ban, economic conditions force many locals to farm in the area.