Indonesia’s most active volcano erupts, flight alert issued

Jakarta: Mount Merapi, the most active volcano in Indonesia, erupted on Tuesday, spewing a column of thick ash which prompted authorities to issue flight alerts, a senior official said.

The eruption of Merapi in the main island of Java was detected 2 km from the crater, reports Xinhua news agency.

The volcano unleashed dangerous volcanic gas and hot clouds, head of the Indonesian Research and Technology Development for Geological Disaster Agency (BPPTKG) Hanik Humaida said.

Rains of ash and sand poured down villages 3 km from the crater, Humaida said, adding that the rains of ash fell in the northern areas about 10 km from the crater.

Flights have been banned from flying over the mountain as a volcano observatory notice for aviation (VONA) has been put in place with red code, the highest level of alert, according to the official.

Residents were prohibited from a radius of 3 km from the crater, the official said.

The 2.930-metre-high Mount Merapi, one of Indonesia’s 129 volcanoes, has regularly erupted.

A total of 353 people were killed and about 350,000 others were forced to evacuate during its eruption from October to November in 2010.

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