Thousands of Indonesians flee erupting volcano: Mount SinabungAugust 30th, 2010 - 12:47 am ICT by BNO News
MEDAN, INDONESIA (BNO NEWS) – Thousands of Indonesians on Sunday fled an erupting volcano on the island of Sumatra after officials, BBC reports.
Indonesian officials issued a red alert after Mount Sinabung began to erupt and spew lava and ash just after midnight local time. Smoke and ash shot some 1,500 meters into the air. Witnesses say that they could see the lava from several miles away.
Mount Sinabung, around 40 miles southwest of Sumatra’s main city of Medan, has not erupted for over 400 years. Officials from the Red Cross said that over 19,000 people are being moved from the slopes of Mount Sinabung and other surrounding areas. Ash and smoke covered a number of villages and crops, with locals arriving at refuge centers covered in gray ash. Reportedly, at least one person has died from breathing complications.
Since the volcano hasn’t erupted since 1600, scientists know very little about it. “Initially we thought the ash and smoke were trigged by rain but now we know the driving pressure was from magma,” he said. The Medan Tribune quoted a local resident saying that he ran when he saw the lava coming toward him “like a ball of fire.”
The volcano had been pumping out smoke all day Saturday but alert levels weren’t raised. Local media reports that the villagers were taken by surprise.
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Tags: ash and smoke, ball of fire, bbc, bno, crops, erupting volcano, indonesian officials, island of sumatra, lava, local media, local time, locals, medan indonesia, rain, red alert, red cross, scientists, several miles, slopes, surprise