JAKARTA: Thousands have escaped, the disaster agency said Monday, from the scene of a rumbling Indonesian volcano. It bursts to life for the first time in many years, belching a huge column of smoke and debris.
As Mount Ili Lewotolok exploded on Sunday, the evacuation of more than 4,400 people spurred a dense tower of debris 4 km into the atmosphere, prompting a flight warning and the closure of a local airport.
The last major eruption in the crater was in 2017.
In a remote part of the Southeast Asian archipelago, there were no reports of casualties or damage from the eruption.
However, authorities urged residents to wear masks to shield themselves from spouting volcanic ash from the crater in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia’s southernmost province, and to be cautious about potential lava flows.
“It is recommended that people wear a mask or other equipment to protect their eyes and skin to minimise the health impact of volcanic ash,” said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Raditya Jati.
After Sunday’s eruption, a 2km no-go zone around the crater was also extended to km. Although flights were advised to stay clear of the area as volcanic ash rained down on the temporarily closed local Wunopitu Airport.
Indonesia is home to around 130 active volcanoes. It is because of its location on the “Ring of Fire”, a belt of tectonic plate boundaries circling the Pacific Ocean where regular seismic activity occurs.
A volcano erupted in late 2018 in the strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra. It is triggering an underwater landslide that unleashed a tsunami that killed more than 400 people.
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