Mon, Sep 16, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Thousands flee after volcano eruption on Sumatra


Mount Sinabung spews hot gas and ashes during an eruption as seen from Gundaling village, Indonesia, yesterday. 

Photo: EPA

Thousands of villagers fled yesterday after a volcano erupted on Indonesia’s Sumatra Island spewing rocks and red-hot ash onto surrounding villages, officials said.

Mount Sinabung in Karo District, North Sumatra Province, erupted violently before dawn.

“More than 3,000 people have been evacuated from areas within a 3km radius of the volcano, and they are all safe,” said Asren Nasution, the head of North Sumatra disaster agency.

Five halls normally used for traditional cultural ceremonies had been converted into shelters for those displaced.

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 3,710 people had so far been evacuated.

Nugroho said it was second recent eruption of Sinabung.

The volcano was dormant for nearly 100 years before erupting in August and September 2010, forcing about 12,000 people to flee.

Indonesia has dozens of active volcanoes and straddles major tectonic fault lines known as the “Ring of Fire” between the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Last month five people were killed and hundreds evacuated when a volcano on a tiny island in East Nusa Tenggara Province erupted.

The country’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, killed more than 350 people in a series of violent eruptions in 2010.

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