Indonesian volcano erupts, forcing residents to flee

A volcano in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara province erupted on Sunday, spewing ash and smoke as high as four kilometers into the sky and forcing more than 2,700 residents to seek refuge, the country’s disaster mitigation agency said.

Raditya Jati, a spokesman for the agency, said in a statement that the eruption from the Mt. Ile Lewotolok volcano, about 2,600 kilometers east of Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta, had caused panic among those living nearby.

About 2,780 people from 26 villages had sought refuge, although no casualties have so far been reported, Jati said.

Muhammad Ilham, a 17-year-old who witnessed the eruption, told Reuters that resident nearby were “panicked and they’re still looking for refuge and in need of money right now”.

Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center said on its website that the area near the volcano is likely to be inundated with “hot clouds, lava stream, lava avalanche, and poisonous gas”.

There are only three other volcanoes with this level, the agency said. These include the Merapi volcano on the island of Java and Sinabung on Sumatra, which erupted this month.

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