Indonesia’s Mount Merapi volcano erupts, covering villages in ash

Mount Merapi in Indonesia, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, erupted on Saturday, spewing smoke and ash that blanketed villages near the crater.

There were no immediate reports of casualties, the country’s civil protection agency said.

Images broadcast on local broadcaster Kompas TV showed houses and streets covered in ash in a village near the volcano on the island of Java, near Indonesia’s cultural capital of Yogyakarta.

The Merapi Volcano Observatory estimated that the ash plume was 3,000 meters above the summit.

Authorities established an exclusion zone seven kilometers from the crater after the eruption, which was recorded at 12:12 p.m. (0512 GMT).

“In order to prevent potential danger from Mount Merapi eruption, the public is advised to halt all activities in the potential danger area,” agency spokesman Abdul Muhari said in a statement on Saturday.

Nearby residents should also expect “disturbance” from ash and be aware of the potential hazards from volcanic mudflow, especially when it rains near the volcano, Muhari said.

At least eight villages near the volcano have been affected by volcanic ash, an official at one of Merapi’s observation posts said in a statement.

The volcano’s last major eruption in 2010 killed more than 300 people and forced the evacuation of around 280,000 residents.

It was Merapi’s most powerful eruption since 1930, killing about 1,300 people. An eruption in 1994 killed about 60 people.

The volcano’s alert status has remained at its second-highest level since 2020 after showing renewed activity.

Indonesia, which has nearly 130 active volcanoes, lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire where the collision of continental plates causes high volcanic and seismic activity.

mrc/sco Indonesia’s Mount Merapi volcano erupts, covering villages in ash

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