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Indonesia volcano prompts evacuation plan but coffee ok

BANDAR LAMPUNG, Indonesia (Reuters) - Indonesian authorities have made plans to evacuate tens of thousands of residents from Lampung on southern Sumatra if a rumbling volcano gets worse, but officials saw little impact on production in the coffee-rich area, they said on Tuesday.

Abdul Shomad, head of the disaster mitigation agency in South Lampung regency, said the government had made plans to evacuate around 40,000 people from 32 villages to guard against the threat of a tsunami in the event of an eruption by Anak Krakatau, in the Sunda Strait between Sumatra and Java.

About 85 percent of Indonesia’s coffee comes from Lampung, Bengkulu and South Sumatra provinces on the southern end of the island. The country is the world’s second-largest producer of robusta, an instant coffee staple, after Vietnam.

Anak Krakatau, or Child of Krakatoa, formed on the site of the giant 1883 explosion of Krakatoa volcano. The original eruption was most of the most violent natural events ever recorded, was heard thousands of miles away and changed the world’s weather for several years.

A resulting tsunami killed around 40,000 people.

Indonesia’s volcanology agency said the volcano was erupting intensively but posed no immediate danger.

“The impact on coffee production is likely minimum because there are very few coffee plantations there,” Sumita, head of marketing division at the Indonesian Coffee Exporter Association (AEKI) Lampung branch, told Reuters.

He said the volcano was also far from the main Panjang port and the coffee-belt in western Lampung.

Indonesia, an archipelago of 18,000 islands on the seismically active Pacific “ring of fire”, frequently suffers volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and related tsunamis.

Reporting by Mas Alina Arifin, Chris White and Fitri Wulandari; Writing by Telly Nathalia; Editing by David Fox