Updated: 02/14/2014 06:54 | By Agence France-Presse

Indonesia orders 200,000 to evacuate as volcano erupts

Hundreds of thousands of Indonesians were ordered to evacuate Friday after a volcano on the main island of Java erupted spectacularly, hurling red hot ash and rocks over a huge distance.


Indonesia orders 200,000 to evacuate as volcano erupts

This photograph taken on February 12, 2014 shows residents looking at Mount Sinabung volcano, which erupted earlier this month on Sumatra island - by Sutanta Aditya

The alert status for Mount Kelud, considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes on densely populated Java, was raised late Thursday just hours before it began erupting. 

TV pictures showed ash and rocks raining down on nearby villages as terrified locals fled in cars and on motorbikes towards evacuation centres.

National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that some 200,000 people from 36 villages in a 10-kilometre (six-mile) area around Kelud, in Kediri district in eastern Java, were being asked to evacuate.

"A rain of ash, sand and rocks is reaching up to 15 kilometres (nine miles)" from the volcano's crater, he said.

"Sparks of light can be continuously seen at the peak."

The 1,731-metre (5,712-foot) Mount Kelud has claimed more than 15,000 lives since 1500, including around 10,000 deaths in a massive 1568 eruption.

It is one of some 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a belt of seismic activity running around the basin of the Pacific Ocean.

Earlier this month another volcano, Mount Sinabung on western Sumatra island, unleashed an enormous eruption, leaving at least 16 people dead.

Sinabung has been erupting on an almost daily basis since September, coating villages and crops with volcanic ash and forcing tens of thousands out of their homes.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。