600 evacuated as Indonesian volcano erupts

Last Updated: Sat, Mar 19, 2011 12:24 hrs

Jakarta: At least 600 people have been evacuated to temporary shelters a day after Indonesian authorities issued a red alert for the Mount Karangetang volcano, a volcanologist said Saturday.

The volcano, located on Siau island off the coast of Sulawesi island, began spewing jets of hot clouds and lava Friday, prompting authorities to order the evacuations of three villages on its slopes.

Indonesia's chief volcanologist, Surono, said eruptions were continuing Saturday but there were no reports of casualties.

Surono's office Friday raised the alert level for the volcano two notches to the highest level after a series of eruptions.

'We have no choice but to order an evacuation because people were at risk of being affected by the hot clouds,' said Surono, who like many Indonesians uses one name.

He said 582 people had been moved to temporary shelters provided by the government.

Karangetang is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. Four people were killed during the volcano's eruptions in August last year.

Indonesia sits on the so-called Ring of Fire, an area known for frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

More than 300 people were killed in a series of eruptions at the Merapi volcano on Java island between October and November last year.

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