Thousands Evacuated Ahead of Volcanic Eruption

( – Indonesia is suffering from a spate of volcanic eruptions in recent weeks, with more than 6,500 residents from its Flores Island evacuated as the local volcano, Mount Lewotobi Laki-laki has been acting up for the past several days, disgorging thick ash clouds.

Mount Lewotobi Laki-laki is part of a pair of active volcanoes in the region, the other being the Lewotobi Perempuan. Authorities say that Lewotobi Laki-laki has erupted at least 40 times in two days. The ash clouds it spews out have reached at least 1,600 in the air, but have risen to as high as 4,900 feet into the sky.

Local authorities have raised the alert level for the volcano to the highest level possible, but there have fortunately been no fatalities or damage caused by the eruptions at the moment.

In contrast, the eruptions of the Marapi volcano in Indonesia’s West Sumatra province has erupted twice, with a previous eruption just in December last year causing the deaths of 23 hikers. Marapi’s eruptions have also been stronger, with the ash flying up as high as 9,800 feet in the air. Marapi is one of the most active volcanoes in the Pacific Ring of Fire, a section of the globe with a high concentration of active volcanoes that also sit on several tectonic plates. The highest number of fatalities from a Marapi eruption was 60 people in 1979.

The government has also called on residents that live within a 2.8-mile radius of Marapi’s base to evacuate as quickly as possible. Authorities have said that lava flow in some valleys connected to the volcano were a possibility.

People affected by the ash fall have also been encouraged to wear protective gear such as masks, in order to prevent ash particles from being absorbed into the lungs, which in turn can cause respiratory distress and illness.

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