Indonesia’s Sinabung volcano spews new burst of hot ash

MEDAN, INDONESIA (AP) – A rumbling volcano in western Indonesia yesterday unleashed an avalanche of scorching clouds down its slopes.

Authorities are closely monitoring Mount Sinabung on Sumatra, one of Indonesia’s main islands, after sensors picked up increasing activity in past weeks.

The volcano in North Sumatra province was shooting smoke and ash more than 1,000 metres into the air yesterday morning, and hot ash clouds travelled one kilometre southeast, Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Centre said.

Villagers were advised to stay five kilometres from the crater’s mouth and should be aware of the peril of lava, the agency said. Air travel was not impacted by the ash so far, the Transport Ministry said.

There were no casualties from the eruption, said Armen Putra, an official at the Sinabung monitoring post. He said villages outside the red zone were not in immediate danger. Some 30,000 people have been forced to leave homes around Sinabung in the past few years. The 2,600-metre Sinabung was dormant for four centuries before exploding in 2010, killing two people. Another eruption in 2014 killed 17 people, while seven died in a 2016 eruption.

Villagers do their laundry as Mount Sinabung spews volcanic materials during an eruption, in Karo, North Sumatra. PHOTO: AP