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Evacuation alert as volcanoes erupt

Two volcanoes have erupted in Indonesia, prompting warnings for flights and evacuation preparations.

State volcanologists said Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province unleashed volcanic ash as high as 26,246 feet, the highest of its eruptions in recent days.

The 8,530ft peak has sporadically erupted since September after being dormant for three years.

The transportation ministry has issued a notice for all airlines to avoid routes around the mountain.

Hours earlier, Mount Merapi - Indonesia's most volatile volcano in Central Java - spewed volcanic ash around 6,500 feet into the sky, causing ash to fall in several towns.

National Disaster Management officials said about 600 families have been gathered for possible evacuation.

Officials raised the alert status of Sinabung to the second-highest level after an eruption earlier this month, prompting the evacuation of more than 6,000 villagers living near its slopes. Its activities have continued, sometimes unleashing lava down the slopes.

Residents in Medan, the provincial capital about 30 miles to the north east, could see black smoke billowing from Sinabung.

Merapi, in Yogyakarta province, killed more than 300 people and caused the evacuation of 20,000 villagers when it burst back to life in late 2010.

Indonesia which is on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire", has 129 active volcanoes, making it prone to seismic upheaval.


From Belfast Telegraph