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Volcano ERUPTS in Indonesia just days after tsunami and earthquake kill HUNDREDS

The volcano started erupting on Wednesday morning at 8.47am local time (2.57am BST), with ash observed as high as 5,809 metres above sea level.

The Regional Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) issued a warning to the affected region, stating: “The community should not have activities in all areas within a 4km radius of the peak of Mount Soputan and within the sectoral expansion area to the west-south-west direction as far as 6.5km from the peak which is a crater opening area to avoid the potential threat of lava and hot clouds.”

Volcanic ash is expected to fall in an area to the north-west of the mountain.

The current Volcano Observatory Notice of Aviation is orange, and is not currently interfering with flights.

Sam Ratulangi International Airport, located in Manado City, is currently operating normally.

Officials at the Multiplatform Application for Geohazard Mitigation and Assessment (MAGMA) issued a statement shortly before the eruption indicating that seismic and thermal activity had increased in the region in recent weeks.

Thermal camera recordings revealed very high temperature lava close to the peak of Mount Soputan.

Seismic activity has also increased sharply from on average two seismic events per day in September, to 101 on Tuesday.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, head of the BNPB, reassured residents no evacuation order has been issued as no settlements are located within a 4km radius of the mountain.

He said: “The community does not need to evacuate because it is still safe.

“Within a 4km radius there is no settlement, so it is still safe.”

The eruption comes just days after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck on Friday, triggering a 6-metre high tsunami which devastated the city of Palu.

At least 1,374 people were killed in the disaster, and around 113 people are currently missing.

Around 200,000 people need urgent help in the region, according to the UN’s humanitarian office, with an estimated 66,000 homes destroyed or damaged.

Mr Nugroho commented on the disaster, saying: “We hope the death toll does not rise.

“We’re continuing rescue operations but right now the team is racing against time.”

Jens Laerke, spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), warned rescue operations were slow and challenging.

He said: “The sense from the teams all working there, is one of real frustration.

“There are still large areas of what might be the worst-affected areas that haven’t been properly reached, but the teams are pushing, they are doing what they can.”
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