Indonesia issues a red alert as volcano erupts

2011-03-19 07:28

Jakarta – Indonesia said it had evacuated hundreds of people living near Mount Karangetang off northern Sulawesi island as authorities issued a red alert today following its eruption.

Nearly 600 people live in three villages 4km from the volcano’s western peak, from which lava continues to spew as it disgorges heat clouds, said a government volcanologist.

“The process to evacuate 582 villagers has completed. All are now at safety shelters and nobody was injured,” the volcanologist said from the volcano’s monitoring post.

“The volcano is still in the phase of eruption. We detected lava flow that reached as far as 1 800m.”

The 1 784 metre Karangetan, which forms the northern part of the remote Siau Island in North Sulawesi, killed four people during an eruption in August 2010.

The Indonesian archipelago has dozens of active volcanoes and straddles major tectonic fault lines known as the “Ring of Fire” between the Pacific and Indian oceans.

The country’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, has killed more than 350 people in a series of violent eruptions that started in late October. 

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