Indonesia’s tallest volcano, Mount Semeru, has erupted, sending clouds of fiery gas and streams of lava prompting officials to warn that the volcano is about to erupt.
About 2,000 people on the most populous island of Java have been evacuated from villages near the peak. Sunday’s eruption covered many villages with falling ash, which blocked the sun, but no injuries were reported.
The eruption on Sunday afternoon prompted authorities to expand the danger zone around Semeru to 8km (5 miles) from the valley, said Hendra Gunawan, who heads the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation.
He advised the people of the area to stay away from the southeastern part of the mountain along the Besuk Kobokan river, which is located on the edge of the volcano.
Semeru’s last major eruption occurred in December last year when it killed 51 people and buried villages in mud. Several hundred people were severely burned, and more than 10,000 people were evacuated.
Semeru, also known as Mahameru, has erupted several times over the past 200 years. However, as with most of Indonesia’s 129 volcanoes, thousands of people still live in its fertile mountains.
Indonesia, an island nation of more than 270 million people, sits on the edge of the Pacific’s “Ring of Fire”, a horseshoe-shaped ridge prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.