[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
Thousands flee erupting Indonesian volcano
Lava cascades down slopes of Mount Lokon, setting trees ablaze and forcing nearby residents to evacuate their homes.
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2011 06:01
Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" and is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions [Reuters]

One of Indonesia's most active volcanos has erupted, forcing thousands of residents to flee their homes.

Mount Lokon, located in northern Sulawesi province, spewed lava and smoke from its crater three times late on Thursday into Friday morning, disaster agency officials said.

Lava cascaded down the volcano's slopes, setting trees ablaze, an official at the nearest monitoring post told the Associated Press news agency, adding that activity remained high and another eruption appeared imminent.

Soldiers and police helped rescuers evacuate residents living along the mountain's fertile slopes, said Jimmy Eman, the acting mayor in the nearby town of Tomohon.

One 56-year-old woman had died of a heart attack he said. But there were no other immediate reports of casualties.

More than 6,000 people who fled the eruptions were crammed into schools, churches and other temporary shelters in Tomohon. Authorities also said another 27,000 people living near the crater will be evacuated soon.

The 1,750m mountain continued to rumble later on Friday morning.

"This is the largest eruption I've ever experienced,'' said Nelson Uada, who was among those evacuated overnight. "It was very scary. Glowing lava flowed like flames in the darkness and it sounded like we were in a war.''

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 240 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanos because it sits along the Pacific "Ring of Fire", a horseshoe-shaped string of faults that lines the Pacific Ocean.

Mount Lokon, which has been on high alert for nearly a week, is one of the country's 129 active volcanos.

Its last major eruption in 1991 killed a Swiss hiker and forced thousands of people to flee their homes.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
China President Xi Jinping's Mongolia visit brings accords in the areas of culture, energy, mining and infrastructure.
An estimated 36 people die each day in embattled town where pro-Russia rebel separatists fight Ukrainian soldiers.
People are starving in southern Somalia while relief efforts are blocked by government and rebel fighting.
Some scientists say authorities in favour of nuclear energy tend to deny the negative results of researchers.
Report on child sex abuse in British Asian community highlights issues that may affect the entire nation.
join our mailing list