Thousands more evacuate as Indonesia’s Mount Lokon re-erupts


MANADO, INDONESIA (BNO NEWS) — Thousands more evacuated on late Thursday evening when Mount Lokon in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi erupted again in full force, triggering panic among locals, officials said on Friday.

Mount Lokon first erupted on Monday, leading to the evacuation of more than 2,100 people by Wednesday afternoon. The evacuation was carried out by North Sulawesi’s Disaster Management Agency (BPBD), local authorities, the Indonesian Red Cross and military personnel.

But an explosive eruption on Thursday evening, at around 11.30 p.m. local time, forced nearly 5,000 others to flee the region around the volcano as panic spread. Officials have also opened another 15 evacuation shelters in addition to five others which were previously established.

Thursday’s eruption sent volcanic ash up to 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) high and spreading hot lava to the slope. There were no immediate reports of casualties from the area, but one person was previously killed during an evacuation of residents near the volcano.

Officials have called on residents to keep calm and follow instructions announced by local officials and to 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.

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 is located on 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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