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14.02.2014

Volcano erupts in Indonesia (Video) photos 5

15:26, — in the world
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76,000 people fled their homes and flights were grounded across most of Indonesias densely populated island of Java on Friday after a volcanic eruption sent a huge plume of ash and sand 17 km into the air.

The ash cloud from Thursday nights eruption of Mount Kelud in the province of East Java moved west over the island, forcing the closure of seven airports and stranding thousands of passengers. The only major airports still operating on Java were two in the capital, Jakarta, Euronews reports.

Based on verified data, over 76,000 people have been evacuated from five cities around the volcano and about 200,000 people were affected, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Nugroho said in a text message.

Mount Kelud is 90 km (54 miles) south of Indonesias second biggest city Surabaya, a major industrial centre. Its airport was closed, along with those of Bandung, Yogyakarta, Solo, Malang, Semarang and the major oil refinery town of Cilacap.

They were expected to reopen on Saturday morning, a transport ministry official told reporters.

Mount Kelud is one of 130 active volcanoes in the worlds fourth most populous country, which sits along the Ring of Fire volcanic belt around the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

Nugroho said the eruptions had ceased, but the ash had spread as far as 500 km (312 miles) to the west and northwest. Television broadcast images of planes, streets and houses blanketed in a thick layer of grey ash.

At the worlds largest Buddhist temple outside Yogyakarta, nearly 135 km (84 miles) away, workers rushed to cover statues with plastic sheets to protect them from the falling ash.

Other airports, including Denpasar on the resort island of Bali, were so far unaffected, according to flag carrier Garuda Indonesia.


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