A volcano in Sumatra spewed a vast cloud of smoke and ash high into the air on Monday, disrupting flights and sending thousands more people into temporary shelters, officials said.
Airlines were warned to avoid remote Mount Sinabung in northern Sumatra as it erupted for a second day after springing to life for the first time in four centuries.
“It erupted again at 6:30am and lasted about 15 minutes. The smoke and ash reached at least 2,000 metres,” government volcanologist Agus Budianto said.
The eruption was bigger than Sunday’s when 2,460-metre Sinabung rumbled into action for the first time since 1600, adding its name to the list of 69 active volcanoes in the country.
Another 3,000 people arrived at temporary shelters on Monday, bringing the total in government care to 21,000, disaster management official Andes Mbaga said.
Sixteen shelters have been set up to accommodate people who evacuated their villages as ash and stones fell around the fertile farming area early on Sunday.
Witnesses said a strong smell of sulphur filled the air and many people fled their homes on foot before receiving the order to evacuate.
Authorities have ordered everyone within a six-kilometre “danger zone” to leave.
Aircraft were ordered to avoid the area and travellers to North Sumatra province were warned of possible delays, transport ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said.
“It may affect flight traffic to and from the province. It all depends on the direction of the wind,” he said. Several domestic flights had to be cancelled on Sunday due to the smoke, he said.