Indonesia: Mount Lokon volcanic activity increases

07/11/2011 20:37

WireUpdate: MANADO, INDONESIA (BNO NEWS) -- Indonesian officials on Monday raised its alert levels after Mount Lokon's increased volcanic activity is forcing residents to evacuate the area.

At around 5:45 p.m. local time, Mount Lokon, which is 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) high and located in in the northern island of Sulawesi, spewed varied amounts of ash, prompting Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) to raise the volcano's status.

BNPB's Data Center Chief Sutopo Purwon Nugroho told Antara news agency that officials had already ordered locals to evacuate the surrounding area at least 3.5 kilometer (2.2 mile) radius. He also urged resident to be aware of an eruption, possible lava flow through a river, which flows down from Lokon's peak, as well as dust, sand, and rock rains.

However, Sutopo called on residents to keep calm and follow indication announced by local officials and not believe rumors. Lokon is located some 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) away from Manado, Sulawesi's second-largest city, and is located on the island's northern tip, where large and small ash clouds have been seen.

Dozens of active volcanoes in Indonesia are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, known for frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Next to Mount Lokon is its volcanic twin, Mount Empung, just 2.2 kilometers (1.3 miles) away.

One of Indonesia's most active volcanoes is Mount Merapi, which located in the island of Java near Jogjakarta, the country's second-most visited area after Bali. Last year, more than 300 people were killed in a series of eruptions between October and November that also displaced over 300,000 people.

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