Mount Sinabung volcano erupts eight times in a few hours sending thousands fleeing from fallen rocks
- Staff Writers
- November 24, 2013 8:09PM
Mount Sinabung spews smoke above Tigapancur village in Karo district, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Picture: Ulet Ifansasti
A VOLCANO in western Indonesia has erupted eight times in just a few hours, “raining down rocks” over a large area and forcing thousands to flee their homes.
Mount Sinabung has been erupting on and off since September, but went into overdrive late on Saturday and early Sunday, repeatedly spewing out red-hot ash and rocks up to eight kilometres into the air.
Several thousand people left their homes overnight, taking the total number of those who have fled since the volcano rumbled to life to around 12,300, said the national disaster agency on Sunday.
Farmers ride their motorcycle along a road after Mount Sinabung erupted. Picture: Kharisma Tarigan”People panicked last night as the eruption was accompanied by a loud thunderous sound and vibrations. Then it started raining down rocks,” said local government official Robert Peranginangin.
“They ran helter-skelter out of their homes and cried for help.”
He added there were no known casualties from the latest eruptions.
Sinabung volcano spews volcanic ash into the air in Karo, “raining down rocks” over a large area and forcing thousands to flee their homes. Picture: Ivan Damanik
The volcanology agency raised the alert level for the volcano, on the northern tip of Sumatra island, to the highest point on a four-stage scale, meaning a hazardous eruption is imminent or under way.
National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the government was calling for people living within five kilometres of the volcano to leave their homes.
An ash covered man works at a coffee plantation in Guru Kinayan village, located less than 3km from Mount Sinabung. Picture: Ulet Ifansasti
Sinabung, one of dozens of active volcanoes in Indonesia which straddles major tectonic fault lines known as the “Ring of Fire”, erupted in September for the first time since 2010.
In August five people were killed and hundreds evacuated when a volcano on a tiny island in East Nusa Tenggara province erupted.
The country’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, killed more than 350 people in a series of violent eruptions in 2010.
People look as Mount Sinabung spews pyroclastic smoke above Tigapancur village. Picture: Ulet Ifansasti