PADANG: A volcano in western Indonesia erupted on Sunday (Dec 3), belching a column of ash around 3km into the sky and forcing the evacuation of dozens of hikers, officials said.
Mount Marapi on the island of Sumatra, with a peak of 2,891m, is on the third-highest alert level of Indonesia’s four-step system and authorities imposed an exclusion zone around its crater.
There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties after the eruption at about 2.55pm local time, but 42 hikers were unaccounted for.
A total of 70 hikers had checked in at two entry points to Marapi since Saturday via an online booking system, according to the West Sumatra natural resources conservation agency.
“The … agency team are conducting evacuations. Twenty-eight people have been evacuated and efforts are still being made (to evacuate) the rest. Hopefully there are no fatalities and everyone is safe,” Dian Indriati, the interim head of the agency, said in a video statement.
Some hikers may not notify authorities about their presence when entering or leaving such areas, so the true number of unaccounted hikers remains unclear.
Read the full article here