Thousands flee Indonesian volcano
Updated: 14:28, Sunday January 12, 2014
More than 25,000 people have fled their homes following a series of eruptions and lava flows from a volcano in Indonesia.
Mount Sinabung, on the western island of Sumatra, sent hot rocks and ash up to 5000 metres in the air several times on Saturday, National Disaster Mitigation Agency emergency response director Tri Budiarto told AFP.
‘So far, 25,516 people have been evacuated. There’s nobody now within a five-kilometre radius of the crater. We are urging those living within seven kilometres southeast of the crater to move, too,’ he added.
Hot lava, which has been spewing from the volcano for the past two weeks, has flowed into a river and filled up valleys with volcanic fragments, he said.
‘There were small secondary explosions when lava flows came into contact with the water, but there are no casualties so far. We are urging people not to carry out any activity in the rivers,’ he added.
Mount Sinabung is one of 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia that straddle major tectonic fault lines, known as the Pacific Ring of Fire.
It had been quiet for about 400 years but rumbled back to life in 2010, and again in September 2013.
In August, five people were killed and hundreds were evacuated when a volcano erupted on a small island in East Nusa Tenggara province.
The country’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, killed more than 350 people in a series of eruptions in 2010.