Friday, 14 February 2014 15:38:38
Volcano erupts in Indonesia, 100,000 evacuated, airports closed
JAKARTA, Feb 14 ( APP/Reuters) - A volcano erupted on the heavily
populated Indonesian island of Java, sending a huge plume of ash
and sand 17 km (10 miles) into the air and forcing the
evacuation on Friday of more than 100,000 people and closure of
Indonesia's national disaster agency ordered the evacuation
of all the families living within a 10-km (6-mile) radius of
Mount Kelud. The volcano is 90 km (54 miles) south of
Indonesia's second biggest city Surabaya, a major industrial
"Over 100,000 people have been evacuated," National Disaster
Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Nugroho said by telephone.
He said the eruptions had ceased, but the ash had spread as
far as 500km (312 miles) to the west and northwest, causing more
problems, especially for airlines.
Mount Kelud is one of 130 active volcanoes in the the
world's fourth most populous country. And the agency estimated
that up to 200,000 people living in its vicinity had been
affected by the eruption, and some families were still being
brought out of the evacuation zone.
The cloud from the eruption forced the shutdown of airports
at Surabaya and the cities of Yogyakarta, Solo, Malang and
Semarang in East Java and Central Java provinces, stranding
thousands of passengers.
Local television networks showed images of cities and
grounded airplanes blanketed in a layer of ash.
Other airports, including Denpasar on the resort island of
Bali, were unaffected, so far, according to Garuda Indonesia
, the national flag carrier.
Visibility in some affected areas dropped below 10 metres
and schools were closed, while volunteers distributed masks and
food to evacuees pouring into shelters.
As ash fell on the world's largest Buddhist temple Borobudur
in Yogyakarta nearly 135 km away, authorities began covering
stupas and statues of Buddha with plastic sheets, according to
local media reports.
"Areas to the west of Mount Kelud, including central Java,
Yogyakarta, Cilacap, Magelang, Temanggung and Boyolali are still
experiencing showers of ash, because last night the biggest
eruption ... threw sand and ash 17 km into the air," Nugroho