Indonesian Volcano Scatters Ash Through the Air Forcing a Mass Evacuation

Thousands of Indonesians flee their homes as a volcano on Java erupts.

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Mount Kelud, a volcano in the eastern part of Indonesia’s main island Java, began spewing ash and smoke two days ago and has not stopped since. Conditions in the area have become so dangerous that thousands were forced to evacuate their homes Friday.

According to CNN, at least three people have died from the volcano. Two died from smoke inhalation and a third passed away when a wall collapsed.

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More than 76,000 people have been evacuated from the five cities surrounding the volcano, Reuters reports.

The volcano has grounded flights and closed seven airports due to low visibility and possible engine interference with debris, CNN reported. One of the airports near the volcano reported its runway being covered in nearly 2 inches of ash.

Some were worried about the eruption affecting local crops in surrounding areas. Though the eruption may pollute some of the crops, authorities say that the damage will be minimal.

“The eruption will affect sugarcane plantations, but the impact is small," Soemitro Samadikoen, chairman of Indonesian Sugarcane Farmers Association told Reuters. "With this very small impact and high stock [in the domestic market] we do not need to import white sugar from other countries."

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Some of the evacuees attempted to return to their houses Friday morning but were prevented by volcanic ash, the BBC reported.

Volcanic ash blankets Yogyakarta in Java, Indonesia, about 124 miles west of the Mount Kelud volcano Friday. The eruption could be heard up to 125 miles away, Indonesia's disaster agency said.
Volcanic ash blankets Yogyakarta Friday. The eruption could be heard up to 125 miles away, Indonesia's disaster agency said.

"The whole place was shaking - it was like we were on a ship in high seas," one resident told AFP news agency. "We fled and could see lava in the distance flowing into a river."

But officials said Friday that the eruption was waning, the BBC reported.

Indonesia is no stranger to volcanic eruptions and in fact is located on a geological fault line known as the “Ring of Fire,” named for its volcanic activity.