Merapi volcano alert level raised, evacuations ordered, Indonesia

Merapi volcano alert level raised, evacuations ordered, Indonesia

Following four new explosions at Indonesia's Merapi volcano on May 20 and 21, 2018, authorities have raised the alert level for the volcano from Alert Level 1 to 2 at 23:00 UTC on May 21, 2018. All residents living within 3 km (2 miles) are ordered to evacuate.

The eruptions took place after a major eruption on May 11, 2018 sent ash up to 15 km (50 000 feet) above sea level. The previous eruptive phase of this volcano lasted from March 9 to April 20, 2014. It had Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 3.

According to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the national disaster mitigation agency, some 600 people living within the exclusion zone of 3 km (2 miles) have evacuated since early Tuesday (local time), May 22.

There have been no reports of casualties and operations at Adi Sucipto airport in Yogyakarta have not been affected, Nugroho said, adding that climbing on Merapi is now prohibited and only disaster agency personel or related researchers should enter the restricted area.

Some 250 000 people are living within a 10 km (6.2 miles) radius of the volcano.

Merapi's last major eruption took place in 2010. At least 347 people lost their at the time.

Featured image: Eruption of Mount Merapi on May 21, 2018. Credit: Sutopo Purwo Nugroho

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