Six killed in volcanic eruption

Disaster officials said hot ash covered a beach after a volcanic eruption, leaving four Indonesian adults and two children dead.

Six killed in volcanic eruption

Disaster officials said hot ash covered a beach after a volcanic eruption, leaving four Indonesian adults and two children dead.

Mount Rokatenda, on the island of Palue in Indonesia, some 2,000 km (1,250 miles) east of Jakarta, spewed ash and rocks 2 km into the air.

The volcano had been rumbling since late last year, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people.

A 3 km exclusion zone was set up after an eruption last October.

But Surono, a spokesman from Indonesia’s volcanology agency, said many villagers had become accustomed to the volcanic activity and ignored the mandatory evacuation order.

Palue has a population of some 10,000 people.

Mr. Surono said the latest eruption had begun at 0427 on Saturday (2027 GMT Friday) and lasted for nearly four hours.

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He urged villagers to stay clear of the affected area, saying it was difficult to predict if there would be further eruptions.

Palue is about 4 km wide and lies a short distance off the north coast of Flores, the main island in the East Nusa Tenggara province.

The ACT Alliance humanitarian group reported in April that eruptions in Palue in October and again in March this year had forced hundreds of people from their villages, with significant losses of income in farming, trade, and fishing.

Much of the Indonesian archipelago lies on the Pacific “ring of fire,” an area prone to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

At least 350 people died and 250,000 were displaced when Mount Merapi in central Java erupted in 2010.

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