|The eruption of the Mount Sinabung volcano forced nearly 10,000 to flee. (Tarmizy Harva/ Reuters)|
JAKARTA, Indonesia — A volcano in western Indonesia, which spewed hot lava and sand high into the sky early yesterday in its first eruption in 400 years, erupted again today, spewing white clouds of smoke and ash more than 2,000 yards into the air, officials and witnesses said.
Thousands of people living along the slopes of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province have been evacuated to emergency shelters, mosques, and churches, said a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency. Their abandoned villages and crops are blanketed in heavy, gray soot.
Surono, a government volcanologist who uses only one name, said Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province started rumbling a few days ago.
Mount Sinabung last erupted in 1600, so observers don’t know the volcano’s eruption pattern and are monitoring it closely for more activity.
Evacuations on the volcano’s slopes started Friday at the first signs of activity.
Up to 12,000 people who fled are staying in government buildings, houses of worship, and other evacuation centers in two nearby towns.
The government has distributed 17,000 masks to refugees and set up public kitchens so people can cook food.
Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago, is on the so-called Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.