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Evacuation in 7 Villages as Indonesia's Mount Ibu Volcano Erupts

Photo : Reuters

A volcanic eruption on the remote Indonesian island of Halmahera's Mount Ibu has forced authorities to evacuate residents from seven nearby villages. The mountain erupted spectacularly, spewing a grey ash cloud into the sky and producing streaks of purple lightning around its crater, according to Indonesia's volcanology agency.

The eruption, which occurred on Saturday evening, sent ash clouds as high as 4 kilometers (2.5 miles). The dramatic display was accompanied by vivid purple lightning, creating a surreal and ominous sight. In response, a joint team of police, military, and search and rescue officials was quickly dispatched to evacuate residents from the affected areas.

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Abdul Muhari, a spokesperson for the disaster mitigation agency, stated that the evacuees were taken from the surrounding villages and transported to safety. Images shared by the disaster agency depicted authorities assisting elderly residents and transporting others in pick-up trucks to emergency shelters set up for the night.

While the agency did not specify the exact number of evacuees, it has recommended clearing a seven-kilometer (4.35-mile) radius around the volcano. This precautionary measure follows the agency's decision to raise Mount Ibu's alert level to its highest on Thursday, after the volcano exhibited increased activity earlier in the month.

Mount Ibu's eruption is part of a recent series of volcanic activities in Indonesia, a country situated on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," which is home to 127 active volcanoes. Earlier this month, Mount Marapi in West Sumatra province experienced flash floods and cold lava flows after torrential rains on May 11, resulting in over 60 fatalities and affecting several districts.

In addition to Mount Ibu, North Sulawesi's Ruang volcano has also been active, erupting in recent weeks and spewing incandescent lava. This prompted the evacuation of more than 12,000 people from a nearby island.

The increased volcanic activity across Indonesia highlights the ongoing challenges faced by the country due to its location on one of the most seismically active regions on Earth. Authorities continue to monitor the situation closely, providing aid and ensuring the safety of residents in the affected areas.

May 19, 2024 1:24 p.m. 478

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