The rumbling of the legendary Indonesian "Fire Mountain" is said to have been heard for miles on Saturday. Mount Merapi in the heart of the densely populated island of Java had erupted again around noon at 12.12 pm.
Political correspondent for Southeast Asia.
- Follow I follow
The spewed ash was thrown about 3000 meters high into the air. An avalanche of rock, ash and lava rolled down from the summit about one and a half kilometers, as the Indonesian authority for disaster control reported.
No injuries or deaths so far
Deaths and injuries were initially not reported. Several villages were then covered by a thin layer of volcanic dust. Most of the ashes, however, had been blown away. More than 250 villagers from the surrounding area had been able to get to safety in time.
They were taken to temporary accommodation. They were advised to stay at a distance of at least seven kilometers from the crater of the mountain. Since November last year, the mountain, which is one of around 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia, had the second highest warning level.
Traffic at nearby Yogyakarta Airport and Borobudur temple, which is popular with tourists, was not affected by the outbreak, according to authorities. Yogyakarta is only about 32 kilometers from the 2911 meter high volcano. One of its most severe eruptions dates back to 1006, when an ash cloud is said to have enveloped large parts of Central Java.
In 1930, about 1300 people had died on Merapi as a result of an eruption. The last severe eruption killed more than 2010 people in 340. Tens of thousands of people had fled.
Since Indonesia is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, the country frequently experiences volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. In December, the volcano Semeru had also erupted on Java. In January and February, several earthquakes were reported from Indonesia.