Indonesia’s Ibu volcano spectacularly erupts forcing nearby villages to evacuate


A volcano on the remote Indonesian island of Halmahera has spectacularly erupted, spewing a grey ash cloud into the sky and forcing people from seven nearby villages to evacuate, authorities have said.

Mount Ibu erupted on Saturday evening, sending ash 4km into the sky, as streaks of purple lightning flashed around its crater, according to information and images shared by Indonesia’s volcanology agency.

A joint team of police, military and search and rescue officials was dispatched to the area to evacuate residents from surrounding villages, Abdul Muhari, from the disaster mitigation agency, said in a statement.

Residents were moved in pickup trucks and accommodated in emergency tents for the night. Indonesia’s disaster agency did not provide any information about how many people had been moved, but authorities have recommended that a 7km radius be cleared.

More than 700,000 people lived on Halmahera island as of 2022, according to official figures.

Indonesia’s volcanology agency raised the alert level of the volcano to the highest level on Thursday, after Ibu erupted multiple times earlier this month.

Ibu is one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes, erupting more than 21,000 times last year. Its recent activities follow a series of eruptions of different volcanoes in Indonesia, which sits on the Pacific ring of fire and has 127 active volcanoes.

Flash floods and cold lava flow from Marapi, one of the most active in West Sumatra province, covered several nearby districts after torrential rain on 11 May, killing more than 60 people.

North Sulawesi’s Ruang volcano also erupted in recent weeks, spewing incandescent lava. The eruption prompted authorities to evacuate more than 12,000 people on a nearby island.

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