Thursday, 2 February, 2023

Indonesian volcanic eruption prompts evacuations

Indonesian volcanic eruption prompts evacuations

Indonesia's Mount Semeru volcano has erupted, sending ash billowing into the sky and sparking evacuations on the country's main island, Java.

Authorities raised the volcano's warning status to the highest level, meaning its activity had escalated.

No injuries have been reported but nearly 2,000 people were evacuated from the area around the volcano.

People have been urged to keep at least 8 km (5 miles) away, as "hot avalanches" of lava poured from Semeru.

The increased threat level from three to four also means the danger threatens people's homes, a spokesman for Indonesia's Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) told a national broadcaster.

The organisation said a bridge being rebuilt after a previous eruption had been badly damaged.

Volcanic ash mixed with monsoon rain was falling on nearby villages and 1,969 people, including children and seniors, had been evacuated, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said.

At least six villages had been affected, it added.