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Published on : Wednesday, November 27, 2013
A volcano in the northern part of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island, Mount Sinabung, erupted six times early Monday, sending volcanic ash up to 2,000 meters in the air after days of heightened activity, the country’s disaster agency said. Powerful burst of hot ash and gravel erupted from the rumbling volcano in western Indonesia. As per the National Agency for Disaster Management, eruptions at Mount Sinabung occurred between 1 a.m. and 9 a.m., with winds pushing ash to the east and southeast, away from Indonesia’s third largest city of Medan.
The status was raised from “stand-by” to “caution” – the highest alert for volcanic activity – on Sunday. People were warned to stay at least 5km (3 miles) from the crater. The panicking villagers fled down the mountain. About 15,000 people have been evacuated from 17 villages in the danger zone, a 5-kilometer (3-mile) area around the crater. According to the disaster management agency, the alert level was changed because they anticipated for more eruptions and the intensity of the eruptions were increasing.
Transportation Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said airlines had been notified to avoid routes near the mountain in North Sumatra province.
No casualties have been reported so far.
Indonesia has many active volcanoes because the archipelagic country lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which sees frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity. It is home to some of the world’s most famous volcanic eruptions, including the Mt. Toba super-eruption around 74,000 years ago in North Sumatra that created what is today the world’s largest volcanic lake, and the eruption of Mt. Krakatoa, which lies off West Java, in 1883. When the volcano last erupted in 2010, at least two people were killed and 30,000 others were displaced.
Before 2010, Mount Sinabung had not erupted in 400 years. It is one of around 130 active volcanoes in the country.
(Pic. courtesy – BBC)