Indonesia: Mount Merapi spews smoke into sky as it erupts
Lava and searing gas clouds were spewed down the sides of the 9,721ft (2,963m) volcano on Wednesday. Indonesian authorities raised the danger level of Mount Merapi, on Java island, in November last year to its second highest point.
Officials said the sound of the volcano erupting could be heard 30 kilometres away.
More than 150 people, mostly elderly, living within 3 miles of the crater were rushed to temporary shelter in the Sleman regency near Yogyakarta.
Dr Kasbani, head of Indonesia’s volcanology and geological hazard mitigation centre, said Merapi has spewed “quite intense” hot clouds at least 30 times since Wednesday morning and warned about the danger of lava cutting roads near the volcano.
No casualties have been reported by authorities so far.
Earlier in the week, Yogyakarta’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Centre stated the volcanic activity of Merapi was “very high”.
Following another eruption in November, 2,780 people living on the mountain in Magelang and Sleman districts were evacuated, but most since returned to their homes as they were unable to make a living elsewhere.
Wandha, a local tour guide, told Australian news outlet ABC people living in the area are “traumatised” after the eruption.
He added: “Residents mostly rely on making a living from nature, and when the main source of income was forcibly stopped, it cost us significantly.”
In November, the Mount Ile Lewotolok volcano in the East Nusa Tenggara province of Lembata erupted.
It forced the 2,780 people from 26 villages to flee, and fired ash and smoke around 2.5 miles into the sky.
Indonesia has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country, due to its position on the ‘Ring of Fire’.
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Mount Merapi last erupted in 2018, causing evacuations of areas within three miles of the volcano.
In 2010, the volcano erupted three times between the October 25 and 26.
In total, 353 people died from the eruptions, 200,000 people were made homeless and 320,000 people were displaced.
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