In Indonesia, Mount Rokatenda on Palue island has erupted, shooting hot ash and lava up to 2,000m in the air. At least six people have been killed, swept away in the flow of lava. More than 3,000 people have been evacuated from the area.
The six known victims were sleeping in a beach village in Indonesia when Mount Rokatenda erupted, spewing out rocks, hot ash and molten lava.
An official from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said that the victims included three adults and two children who were swept away by lava.. It is as yet unclear how old the sixth person killed was, and the children’s bodies have not yet been recovered from Ponge beach in Rokirole village.
According to Surono, head of the volcanology center in Indonesia:
We have found the bodies of the adults, but we are still looking for the children, and it is difficult because the area is still very hot.”
Friday, the volcano began to erupt at 4:27am (local time) and continued for nearly four hours, he added.
Rokatenda has been on high alert since October.The island is home to around 7,000 people.Authorities have banned people from any activities within three kilometers of the crater on the island.
According to Surono, his staff at the scene reported that the six people had died within the exclusion zone.
He added that it was not clear what the victims had been doing in the restricted area when the volcano erupted.
Surono said many villagers had become accustomed to the volcanic activity and they had ignored the mandatory evacuation order.
He urged villagers to stay clear of the affected area, saying it was difficult to predict if there would be further eruptions.
Tini Thadeus, the head of the NTT office of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said that the hot cloud reached a height of 1,500 and 2,000 meters.
According to local resident Diakon Ven Nahak SVD, the eruption, which produced a number of earthquakes and an outpouring of lava igniting the peak on Manunai hill bordering Mount Rokatenda, was one of the largest ever recorded.
Palue is about 4km wide and lies a short distance off the north coast of Flores, the main island in East Nusa Tenggara province.
Palue has a population of some 10,000 people.
The Indonesian archipelago, which is the home to dozens of active volcanoes, straddles major tectonic fault lines known as the ‘Ring of Fire’ between the Pacific and Indian oceans.
In 2010, The country’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, killed more than 350 people in a series of violent eruptions.
A fascinating video of Mount Rokatenda on Palue island erupting, which killed six in Indonesia when it erupted, follows.
Written by: Douglas Cobb
This video is one of the better ones I’ve found, but it is not narrated.