Volcanic Ghost Villages in Indonesia

Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung sprang to life over the past few years, erupting and releasing destructive pyroclastic flows following 400 years of dormancy. Numerous villages that had been established on its slopes now sit completely empty—declared too dangerous to inhabit by Indonesian authorities. Associated Press photographer Binsar Bakkara recently visited the newly-formed ghost villages of Guru Kinayan, Simacem, Kuta Gugung, and Sibintun, documenting the crumbling houses and personal belongings left behind that serve as “eerie reminders of how life suddenly stopped when the volcano erupted and everyone was forced to evacuate their homes.” [14 photos total]

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1
A damaged church is dwarfed by Mount Sinabung in the abandoned village of Simacem, North Sumatra, Indonesia, on November 16, 2015. The village is located within an area which, following the eruption of the volcano, has been declared too dangerous to inhabit, forcing its residents to abandon their homes. (Binsar Bakkara / AP) #
2
The wreckage of a van is overgrown by plants in Simacem village in North Sumatra on November 16, 2015. (Binsar Bakkara / AP) #
3
Mount Sinabung is seen through a crumbling house in the abandoned village of Simacem on November 16, 2015. (Binsar Bakkara / AP) #
4
A cassette player caked with dried volcanic ash sits inside an abandoned house in Simacem on November 16, 2015. (Binsar Bakkara / AP) #
5
The peak of Mount Sinabung is seen through a broken window from the living room of an abandoned house in Simacem on November 16, 2015. (Binsar Bakkara / AP) #
6
The door of a barn is secured with a weathered padlock in the village of Guru Kinayan which was abandoned following the eruption of Mount Sinabung, in North Sumatra, Indonesia, on November 13, 2015. (Binsar Bakkara / AP) #
7
Mount Sinabung looms above the abandoned village of Sukanalu in North Sumatra, Indonesia, on November 16, 2015. The village is one of several declared too dangerous to inhabit, forcing residents to abandon their homes. (Binsar Bakkara / AP) #
8
Chairs are strewn across a church which was abandoned following the eruption of Mount Sinabung in the village of Kuta Gugung, Indonesia, on November 13, 2015. (Binsar Bakkara / AP) #
9
A photograph hangs on the wall of a house which was abandoned following the eruption of Mount Sinabung in the village of Guru Kinayan on November 13, 2015. (Binsar Bakkara / AP) #
10
The interior of a house abandoned following the eruption of Mount Sinabung in the village of Guru Kinayan on November 12, 2015. (Binsar Bakkara / AP) #
11
Another interior view of a house abandoned in the village of Guru Kinayan on November 12, 2015. (Binsar Bakkara / AP) #
12
Wild plants overgrow the rubble of a house as Mount Sinabung looms in the background above the abandoned Sibintun village in North Sumatra on November 12, 2015. (Binsar Bakkara / AP) #
13
In this November 16, 2015 photo, damaged photographs hang inside a house abandoned following the eruption of Mount Sinabung in Simacem, North Sumatra. (Binsar Bakkara / AP) #
14
The peak of Mount Sinabung, viewed through a window of a burned-out house in the abandoned village of Sibintun on November 12, 2015. (Binsar Bakkara / AP) #

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