Indonesian volcano erupts multiple times and spews out hot clouds causing 250 residents to flee

Lava flows down from the crater of Mount Merapi seen from Pakembinangun village in Sleman, Central Java, Thursday, March 10, 2022.
Lava flows down from the crater of Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano Credit: AP

Around 250 residents were forced to flee after Indonesia’s Mount Merapi volcano erupted and spewed out hot clouds, leaving a blanket of ash over nearby villages and towns.

The volcano on the densely populated island of Java unleashed clouds of hot ash at least seven times just before and after midnight on Thursday.

Fast-moving pyroclastic flows - a mixture of rock, lava and gas - travelled up to 3.1 miles down its slopes, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Abdul Muhari said.

The rumbling sound could be heard several miles away.

Ash from the eruption blanketed several nearby villages and towns but no casualties were reported, Mr Muhari said, however 253 people were evacuated to temporary shelters.

Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano spewed avalanches of hot clouds in eruptions overnight Thursday Credit: AP

Residents living on Merapi’s fertile slopes were advised to stay 4.3 miles away from the crater’s mouth and to be aware of the danger posed by lava, Indonesia’s Geology and Volcanology Research Agency said.

Mount Merapi is the most active of more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia and has repeatedly erupted with lava and gas clouds recently.

The volcano's last major eruption in 2010 killed 347 people and caused the evacuation of 20,000 villagers.

Mount Merapi is the most active of more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia. Credit: AP

The Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Centre did not raise Merapi’s alert status, which already was at the second highest of four levels since it began erupting last November.

The 9,737ft peak is near Yogyakarta, an ancient city of several hundred thousand people embedded in a large metro area.

Mount Merapi spews out volcanic materials Credit: AP

Indonesia, an archipelago of 270 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity because it sits along the Ring of Fire, a horseshoe-shaped series of seismic fault lines around the Pacific Ocean.

Its last major eruption was in December, when Mount Semeru, the highest volcano on Java, erupted with fury and left 48 people dead and 36 missing in villages that were buried in layers of mud.

The eruption damaged 5,200 houses and buildings.