Indonesia evacuates about 6,500 people on the island of Flores after a volcano spews clouds of ash

AP , Monday 15 Jan 2024

Indonesia has evacuated about 6,500 people on the island of Flores after Mount Lewotobi Laki-laki volcano spewed thick clouds of brownish ash for the past few days, authorities said on Monday.

Pupils play soccer at a school as Mount Marapi spews hot smoke (background) in Agam, West Sumatra on
Pupils play soccer at a school as Mount Marapi spews hot smoke (background) in Agam, West Sumatra on January 15, 2024. AFP

 

No casualties or major damage have been reported so far.

The eruptions in East Nusa Tenggara province are part of hot gas spills that have become more frequent in recent days. The 1,584-meter (5,197 foot) mountain is one of the “twin volcanoes” — the Lewotobi Laki-laki and Lewotobi Perempuan — in the Flores Timur district.

The volcano has erupted 40 times since Sunday, with columns of hot clouds rising 500-1,500 meters (1,600-4,900 feet) into the air.

Residents in nearby villages were taken in by relatives or brought to evacuation centers as authorities raised the volcano’s alert status to the highest level last Tuesday.

Officials urge the local community, as well as visitors and tourists, to stay away from a 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) radius around the eruption zone and be aware of the potential for cold lava surging into rivers upstream from the peak in case of intense rain.

Lewotobi Laki-laki is one of the 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, an archipelago of 270 million people. The country is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity because it sits along the “Ring of Fire,” a horseshoe-shaped series of seismic fault lines around the Pacific Ocean.

Meanwhile, on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia’s Mount Marapi erupted again on Sunday, for the second time since December, spewing smoke and ash high into the air, but no casualties were reported. At least 100 residents were evacuated there since Friday.

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