Eruption of Mount. Gamalama volcano in Indonesia triggers evacuation

Updated: 2015-07-19 21:19


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JAKARTA - Rumbling Mount Gamalama in eastern part of Indonesia has started forcing residents living near the slope of the volcano to flee home, an official said here on Sunday.

The volcano, located in Ternate of North Maluku and has been back to life this week, has pushed over 1,500 people to evacuate, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of the national disaster management agency, disclosed.

"This figure is expected to rise,"he told Xinhua via phone.

The volcano alert level has been raised to the second highest and authorities have banned those from entering the slope within a radius of 1.5 km, according to him.

Masks have been distributed to the residents and emergency relief aids have been given, said Sutopo.

The eruption has been on and off since the volcano was back to life and on Saturday it spewed column of ash to a height of 1.5 km and spread to the north of the crater, according to him.

Two other volcanoes, Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra and Mount Raung in East Java continued eruption on Sunday by spreading column of ash to a height of 3,000 and 2,000 meters respectively, but they did not spark new evacuation, he said.

Mount Gamalama, Mount Sinabung and Mount Raung are among the 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, the archipelago country with about 17,500 islands.